LOCKHART — Public comments at Tuesday’s meeting of the Lockhart Town Council raised awareness about illegal burning in Union County.
Union County resident Dean Garner requested to be added to the meeting agenda to discuss the issue of illegal burning in Lockhart and throughout the county. Garner pointed out that it is against the law to burn household trash, motor and waste heating oils, shingles, tires and other rubber products, etc.
Garner stated that he was in Lockhart riding bikes with his daughter, as he often does, and noticed that someone was burning paper and plastic. He said he stopped and told the person that it was against the law to burn trash.
“In this day and time, people shouldn’t be burning trash,” Garner said. “People burned trash in the 50s and 60s, but burning trash — and plastic bottles, especially — is not good for our air and our environment. The smoke settle all over Lockhart.”
Garner said he has always been interested in environmental issues and has always tried to recycle.
“Just in my neighborhood, I don’t always see people burning trash, but I can certainly smell it,” Garner said.
He asked Mayor Ailene Ashe and council members for the town to do anything that can be done to prevent people from burning trash unlawfully.
“We need to do all we can to prevent this from happening,” Ashe said.
On Wednesday, Ashe contacted South Carolina DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control), and the town hall will be sent “Learn Before You Burn” brochures for people to read before they burn.
Ashe also asked about those who are burning illegally.
“DHEC told me if we have a problem, to call them and they will contact the individual,” Ashe said.
In South Carolina, it is against the law to burn any of the following:
• Household garbage and trash
• Motor and waste heating oils
• Roofing materials such as shingles and tar
• Tires and other rubber products
• Building materials
• Household cleaners
• Farm chemicals
• Electrical wire
• Insulation and duct work
Open Burning is the burning of any material in an open fire or an outdoor container. Smoke from open burning pollutes the air and can cause health problems for children and adults. These problems can be worse for people with reduced lung function such as Asthma.
Burning trash is illegal in South Carolina. Trash may contain toxic chemicals, and those chemicals are released into the air when they are burned in an open fire.
Small sticks, leaves, grass clippings and kitchen vegetable waste make great mulch and compost for gardens. Larger stumps and limbs may be collected and used by county government to produce mulch.
State law requires citizens to notify the South Carolina Forestry Commission before burning certain vegetative materials. Anyone who plans to burn residential yard debris such as small sticks, leaves or grass clippings outside city limits in Union County should call 1-800-517-9642.
Those who are located near woods, brush or grassland should call the Forestry Commission at 1-800-777-3473 before burning vegetative materials from land clearing or right of way maintenance.
For more information visit www.state.sc.us/forest/fireburn.htm.
To report open burning in your neighborhood, call the Region 2 (Cherokee, Greenville, Spartanburg, Pickens and Union counties) DHEC EQC office at (864) 596-3800.
DHEC encourages everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle. The following are clean, easy ways to get rid of garbage:
• Mulch or compost yard waste.
• Recycle newspapers, magazines, cardboard, cans, plastics and glass.
• Recycle used oil at your local recycling center.