Illegal dumping offenders should be made to clean roadways, public parks

By John Peters

July 18, 2013

Now, maybe, some of those dumping garbage around Surry County will find themselves getting a visit from county officials.

This comes after the board of commissioners authorized County Planner Kim Bates to purchase cameras and rotate them among places where people illegally dump garbage around the county.

A person convicted of illegal dumping can be charged a fine of up to $25 a day until the mess is cleaned up, though Bates told the commissioners that the county generally doesn’t impose the charge if the offender pays the ticket cost and cleans up the garbage.

That is gracious of the county, but we wonder if taking a hard line might be better? Someone illegally dumping, whether it be along a roadside or on some isolated property, is not doing something accidentally, or running afoul of some obscure law. Everyone knows dumping garbage along a road or on someone else’s property is wrong, and quite frankly they don’t deserve much in the way of leniency.

It might be better if they find themselves paying that $25 a day fee until the garbage is cleaned up and being required to spend a few Saturdays picking up other trash along the county’s roadways and at parks and other public property. We suspect there would not be many repeat offenders, and they might serve as a bit of a public lesson for others.

In any event, we’re glad the county is taking steps to help catch these offenders.