Orangeburg County is working to organize every citizen in the fight against litter with its countywide challenge scheduled through April 30.

The Orangeburg County 2024 Spring Challenge is a part of the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup, the nation’s largest community improvement program that engages more than 300,000 volunteers each year.

Keep Orangeburg County Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, and Orangeburg County Code Enforcement will provide bags for the month-long pickup, which began on April 1.

Orangeburg County Code Enforcement will also pick up the garbage after the bags have been filled.

“We’ve got some great volunteers. We’ve got groups, as well as individuals calling in and getting supplies and getting plans to get their groups together. It sounds like the whole county is motivated to get this cleanup going,” said Diane Curlee, education coordinator for KOCB and the Orangeburg County Soil and Water Conservation District.

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Curlee said the cleanup is taking place across the entire county.

Interested individuals can contact Orangeburg County Code Enforcement by phone at 803-533-6162 or email at to sign up and be provided bags, grabbers, gloves and vests.

Individuals can also contact Lisa Rigden of KOCB by phone at 803-534-2408, extension 8903, or email at, or Curlee by phone at 803-534-2409, extension 8918, or email at

“What people don’t realize is that litter doesn’t just go away. Different things last different times. A plastic bottle lasts for 200 years. Plastic really never goes away. It just breaks down into small pieces. The scary part is that we have now found out … that there are pieces of plastic even in people,” Curlee said.

“It’s gotten into our food chain and now it’s gotten into us. The best way to keep it from getting worse is to quit putting the trash out there for it to break down in the environment,” she said.

Curlee said the county’s Watergoat device helps to collect trash from waterways, but it is just one step in addressing the litter problem.

“That’s the only one we have in the whole county. You have to remember that once trash gets into our waterways, it goes to our swamps and then it ends up in our Edisto River. Then it ends up at Edisto Beach and goes into the ocean. So everybody is in our watershed and everybody is downstream from somebody,” she said.

Litter can be reported by calling or emailing the Orangeburg County Code Enforcement office.

“They have an office in Holly Hill and Orangeburg. Their people are spread out, but that’s not a bad thing because we’re allowing people on the eastern side of the county to go to Holly Hill to pick up their supplies. Then the people on the western and central sides come to us in Orangeburg. It keeps everybody from having to come to one place,” Curlee said.

The county’s anti-litter ordinance that stiffened the penalties for litter bugs was approved by Orangeburg County Council in December 2017. The ordinance raised the maximum penalty for littering from $500 to $1,000 and clearly defines when those penalties are to be given.

Code Enforcement Supervisor Marie Canty said in an email that she doesn’t think the county’s litter problem has become bigger, but more people are reporting it.

“I think the litter issue is about the same. I just think the citizens have done better reporting the issues they see,” she said.

Canty said 255,166 pounds, or 128 tons, of trash were picked up in the county last year.

She said the spring challenge pickup event makes a difference.

“This event gets every citizen involved in their community, and they get to make a difference in helping keep their community clean,” Canty said.

Curlee said the county has other cleanups throughout the year, but the community, including churches and youth groups, are encouraged to get involved anytime.

“Our cleanups are in April and in October. Our Adopt-A-Highway groups have cleanups four times a year. … We help them out a little bit, too, but we’ll be glad to help any group that wants to jump in. The more, the merrier,” she said.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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