Letter: Asheville needs stricter litter laws

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I appreciated Sherrie Mirsky’s note to the editor [“Keep Asheville Clean,” March 14, Xpress].

I wanted to say that there is definitely a serious litter problem in Asheville. I have lived in Asheville since 1980 and have recently seen in the last year how much litter is filling up so many areas of the city and its outskirts.

Asheville needs stricter litter laws and policies put in place.

If Asheville can begin to institute a policy for litter that incorporates the first offense of a fine of $250; second offense, a fine for $1,000; and the third offense is 30 days of community service — that may be a place to start. South Carolina has a strict litter policy, and I see almost no litter when I visit there.

I recently contacted Asheville GreenWorks to ask for their help in cleaning up Old County Home Road off of Leicester Highway near the [The Meadows Apartments]. They came out with a crew on March 8 and did a terrific job. I am deeply grateful for their willingness to help clean up our city.

If Asheville keeps promoting tourism, at some point, without stricter litter laws, people will stop coming here, seeing so much trash all around the city.

Let’s get something done about this issue.

— Sarah Brownlee


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

10 thoughts on “Letter: Asheville needs stricter litter laws

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    Sarah , littering indicates an ignorant population, Remember, ‘you might be a ***** if throw trash on the ground expecting that someone else will have to pick it up’ …

    and also, SC as referred to, is a different population dynamic, people who are smarter and do the right things…

  2. Scotty_Mack

    Meh, real estate already made the town unlivable. Here’s hoping for more litter to bring property values down and stem the tide of drunken tourists.

  3. Enlightened Enigma

    ha…just heard George Noory on the radio talking about intelligence… his example… ‘intelligent people don’t litter’ , he said …

    • Enlightened Enigma

      Fill in the blank:

      You might be a _____________ if you throw trash and litter on the ground expecting someone else to pick it up.

  4. Bright

    The place is shot to hell…and that didn’t come from the bottom up. It came from the top down.

  5. Mickey Hunt

    Litter is an indicator of the spiritual health of a society, in particular certain segments of the society, but the society at large also contributes to the mentality of disposable resources, personal irresponsibility, and aesthetic blindness.

    Increasing the penalty for littering certainly won’t solve the problem, or affect it in any meaningful way. The reason is, how do you actually enforce littering laws? Police hardly have the resources to patrol every road and try to catch people tossing beer cans from their vehicles.

    However, I would love to have some kind of citizen patrol that catches the cretins who toss out their bottles, dirty diapers, needles, styrofoam cups etc., and make an example of them.

    A productive helpful solution would be to invoke mandatory deposits on all beverage containers sold in North Carolina. That way, young people can make some side money picking up litter. Another would be to pressure corporations that generate roadside trash to encourage their patrons to not litter. Companies like McDonalds and Burger King should pay a tax that would fund litter pick up projects. Some of the local breweries can begin their own deposit programs to keep their cans and bottles out of the gutters. They don’t have to wait until government forces them. This would be a good publicity boost for the companies. Pisgah Brewing, for example, imposes a $3 deposit on their crawlers, I’ve picked up a lot of roadside litter and I’ve never found one of them in the ditch. They should do the same for their other container sizes.

    As far as the larger social problem, litter does seem trivial compared to the issues of life and death that command more of our attention and resources. The best solution I can think of, other than a radical, life affirming cultural revolution, is to pick up the litter in my own neighborhood and encourage others to do the same. I’ve been told by a professional litter picker supervisor. (He carries a shotgun over his shoulder, if you know what I mean) that the DOT will supply appropriate orange bags and then pick up the full bags.

  6. Emily

    I participate in multiple litter cleanups a year… I also appear in district court from time to time. In the last 15 years of practicing law, I’ve not once seen a littering ticket on the infraction calendar. Perhaps we should seek enforcement of existing laws, first?

    • Enlightened Enigma

      yes, but AVL is WAY too PC to enforce existing sensible law … the most pathetically run city on the east coast surely.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.