Desoto County News

County to get tougher on roadside trash 

Officials’ concern about trash alongside county roads may have some added teeth put to it in the next few weeks as supervisors remain pledged to keep DeSoto County clean.  

During the most recent Board of Supervisors meeting, supervisors bemoaned the fact that roadways continue to have trash left alongside, becoming an eyesore for both residents and visitors alike.  

Expect board members to meet with representatives of the county’s cities and for community town hall meetings to be held to get the public’s input.  They want a cross section of ideas but also want to get serious about the trash problem.  

“It actually is appalling to me and I think it is to most people when you drive through our county if you really pay attention,” said District 3 Supervisor Ray Denison. “Sometimes you don’t even have to pay attention. It just jumps out at you, particularly on our major thoroughfares, but it’s everywhere.”

Talking with DeSoto County News, Denison floated a number of possible ideas to look at for cutting into the growing level of roadside trash. 

For one, Denison notes there are a number of uncovered loads from trucks heading toward the landfill and that needs to stop.

While turning those loads away at the landfill may not be the best idea, one suggestion Denison has may be that drivers have to pay up to come drop their loads off, if they come uncovered.  

“So, maybe we should start having an additional charge if you show up (at the landfill) with an uncovered load,” Denison said. “We haven’t set that in place. That’s just in the thought process right now.” 

It may also be time for a dedicated truck to travel the county picking up trash on a regular basis. 

“We send guys out like every so often to pick up a road, so maybe we need to send them out every day,” said Denison. “We need a crew in this county that does nothing but pick up trash, because it is there. It happens every day.”

Fine enforcement for littering may be another possible solution. You may see the “Shame On Y’all” litter signs that include the mention of a $250 fine possible if caught dumping trash on the road.  Getting deputies involved to enforce the fines when they’re out on patrols was also suggested.  

Denison believes residents will start to notice if some solutions are put into place.  

“They might say wow, you know, this is a much better look than all the trash that we see on a normal basis,” Denison said.  

A committee that includes Denison and District 4 Supervisor Lee Caldwell is to meet this week to begin exploring possible solutions.  But Denison is serious that now is the time to go on the offensive, saying he can go elsewhere and not see the amount of trash left on the road.

“I can drive, I can go to Canada, drive hundreds of miles and never see a piece of trash,” said Denison. “I want to know why I can do that there and why I can’t do that here. No bottles, no cans, no paper. It just blows my mind and we can do better. We need to do better.”

Picking up trash on the road goes beyond the aesthetic value of a cleaner environment.  Each year, Mississippi spends over $3 million in picking up trash along its highways. It’s money that could be used on maintaining roads, building and repairing bridges, improving infrastructure and economy, but instead, it goes toward “cleaning up your mess.”  

Negative impacts from littered roadways include decreased property values, reduced commerce and tourism, and potential health risks.