Group Discusses Litter Solutions

OCEAN CITY – A discussion on campaigns and pilot programs to address a growing litter issue highlighted a resort committee meeting this week.

In a meeting Wednesday, members of the Ocean City Coastal Resources Legislative Committee (Green Team) focused their discussions on ways to mitigate litter issues along the resort’s side streets.

“It seems like the litter issue on side streets have really been a big problem this year,” Councilman Tony DeLuca, committee liaison, told members this week. “It’s worse than I’ve ever seen it.”

DeLuca noted the police department had issued five citations for litter violations since January. He and other committee members agreed to discuss the issue of enforcement with police department representatives at the next meeting.

“If there’s a law but no enforcement, we don’t really get the benefit of it at that point,” committee member Gail Blazer said.

While he agreed to enforcement measures, committee member Pat McLaughlin said the town could also launch an educational campaign.

“If you don’t fine people you don’t have accountability,” he said. “But on the other side of things, a positive approach could be a campaign.”

Mayor Rick Meehan said the town could reinstitute a storm drain medallion program that features anti-littering messages.

“People look down before they throw,” he said. “If they see those medallions, hopefully it will click.”

Meehan also recalled the town using an “Every Litter Bit Hurts” slogan years ago.

“Those are the things that have been forgotten over the generations,” he said. “But every kid knew that. You have to get that into their minds, so they can think about it.”

DeLuca agreed.

“Maybe we need some sort of campaign to really press hard next year and have fun with …,” he said. “Let’s put a positive spin on it.”

Blazer said she supported an educational campaign, so long as there was some enforcement to support it.

“It’s not just starting a campaign,” she said. “We need some leverage to it.”

The committee this week also discussed a potential butler and broom pilot program in the resort’s downtown area.

Blazer said the town could seek funding to supply an area of downtown businesses with a broom and dust pan, which would be kept outside for passersby to use.

“They’d have them outside of their businesses, where people would be able to sweep up,” she said.

Officials noted the program could alleviate some of the litter concerns along the resort’s side streets. Blazer said the pilot program could also accompany the proposed educational campaign.

On the subject of litter, committee members this week noted the town would host a Bay to Boardwalk Cleanup on Sunday, Sept. 13, from 10 a.m. to noon. Volunteers should meet at city hall.

“We’ll have masks, gloves and bags, and I’m working on T-shirts,” Blazer said.

As the name implies, DeLuca noted the event would focus on cleaning up the streets from the bay to the Boardwalk.

“Not on the Boardwalk and not on the beach, just streets, streets, streets,” he said. “That’s all it is, is streets.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.