August 22, 2022, Dick Mayer Addresses Edenton Lions

What does a beer can, a soiled diaper, and a bag of grass clippings have in common? Stumped? Ok …what about an old sneaker, a bag of garbage, and scraps of construction material? Still stymied?

The answer is they are all items that have been picked up along the roads in Chowan County according to Dick Mayer, the newly appointed Chowan County Litter Control Coordinator.

On August 22, Mr. Mayer spoke to the Edenton Lions Club regarding his mission to dramatically decrease litter in Chowan County. It is Chowan County’s good fortune that Dick’s impressive professional background provided him with tools to take on his new role as Chowan County Litter Control Coordinator.

Dick was an attorney in Annapolis, Maryland. During law school, he served as a police officer in Montgomery County, Maryland, and subsequently, as Chief of the Brunswick, Maine Police Department, and Assistant Director of the International Chiefs of Police Association. He retired from the U.S. Department of Justice where he managed the development and reformation of police departments in twenty-four countries.

In his presentation to the Lions, Mr. Mayer indicated that Chowan County has a substantial litter problem that negatively impacts our community’s economy, local wildlife, environment, and overall quality of life.

Litter arrives in our community in myriad ways. Food and drink containers thrown from moving vehicles; allowing trash to sail out of the uncovered beds of pick-up trucks on their way to the dump, and in a million other ways. Whether litter is intentional or accidental, the impact is the same.

Why do people litter? It could be a lack of connection with the community or even a lack of awareness that littering is unacceptable and illegal.

Is there a solution? Yes. Implementing the Chowan County Litter Control Program’s three pillar approach featuring Education, Anti-Littering Law Enforcement and Clean Up Response.

The education pillar includes an emphasis on prevention rather than just response; a sustained effort to keep the theme “Littering has Consequences” in front of the public; and the delivery of anti-littering presentations and periodic press releases and news stories.

As Dick explained it, in some cases, education may be insufficient to change behavior. Therefore, the second pillar of the program, anti-littering enforcement, and the engagement of the criminal justice system may be needed. This includes increased anti-littering law enforcement, public service announcements, and press releases. Also, to increase the priority given to enforcement of littering laws, Dick plans to meet with the Edenton Police Chief, the County Sherriff, and the area Highway Patrol Commander, and provide in-service training sessions for law-enforcement personnel.

The third pillar of the Program is Clean Up Response—because litter can be reduced, but not eliminated. Some aspects of clean-up response include partnering with the North Carolina Highway Department and participating in their current roadway clean-up programs, including Adopt-a-Highway, Sponsor-a- Highway, Swat-a-Litterbug and Clean Sweep. Sponsoring periodic roadside clean-up events for teams of County volunteers can also go a long way toward reducing litter.

Dick closed his presentation by encouraging all of us to maintain a high energy level in the litter control effort. The County’s Litter Control Program will continue and expand educational efforts; sustain contact with the criminal justice system; and explore and adopt innovative approaches to litter prevention.

Remember: Litter Has Consequences.

If you have questions about the new Litter Control Program, please contact Dick Mayer, Chowan County Litter Control Coordinator at (252) 370-2169.


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