Keep Pike County Beautiful director Tammy Strickland presented the sheriff’s department with a pair of motion-detecting cameras Friday designed to catch illegal dumpers.

That was just part of her annual report on the county’s litter situation.

Strickland said a team recently completed the annual litter index, traveling 148 miles of county roads and state highways.

“We have a lot of scattered litter, and I think a lot of it is caused by our garbage can set-ups throughout the county,” she said.

Litter blows out of pickup trucks, too, she said.

“When you get into your truck, make sure there’s not something in the back that’s going to blow out — like corn bags,” Strickland said, referring to the corn used by landowners to attract game.

Heavy rains have washed litter into area streams as well.

Strickland said the county has lots of groups — churches, civic organizations, individuals — who walk the roads picking up litter. She singled out McComb officials for their efforts.

Strickland also praised Pike County Supervisor Tazwell Bowsky for rolling up his sleeves and helping with clean-up efforts, and urged the other four supervisors — all new to the job — to do the same.

Strickland noted there are recycling centers in all four municipalities.

On the index tour, Highway 24 stood out.

“I was so impressed I wanted to cry. It was so improved,” Strickland said. “Years ago when I started this, it was a hot mess. Y’all are making a difference. It’s slow, but it’s coming. We’re like a turtle.”

She said the group didn’t find many illegal dumps this year, though she cited one at Highway 51 and Carruth Road as “critical.”

The closing of St. Mary of the Pines in Chatawa has hurt.

“These nuns were faithful with pickup when doing their prayer walk, so we are lacking there,” she said.

Strickland noted that the Mississippi Department of Transportation urges people to wear safety vests when picking up trash along state highways. Vests are available through KPCB or MDOT, she said.

Strickland praised the sheriff’s department for helping with litter control — especially deputy Brian Mullins, who goes through trash, finds identifying information and pays the offenders a visit. He also puts photos of dumps on Facebook.

“They respect him,” Strickland said. “They appreciate what he does all throughout the county.

“We need three or four of you,” she told Mullins.

Strickland said First Bank and an anonymous donor paid for the two surveillance cameras.

KPCB urges people to donate $25, which will be applied for use in their zip code.

“What we need is grassroots groups,” she said.

Litter lowers property taxes, Strickland said, and she should know as a real estate agent who shows property. Picking up roadside litter is a also great activity for the “exercise-minded,” she added.

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Here are some findings from the litter index:

Worst sites

• Carruth Drive from Highway 51 to railroad tracks.

• St. Mary Road to Old Highway 51.

• Highway 570 and River Road.

• Union Church Road and Magnolia-Holmesville Road.

• North Cherry to Avenue L.

Worst problems

• Interstate 55 exits and medians.

• Rural road intersections.

• Free newspaper advertisers thrown in driveways and not picked up.

• Dumping sites on rural roads with tires, appliances, furniture and trash.

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