Recently, a broken bottle in Lake Waccamaw resulted in a trip to the emergency room for a child who cut her foot in the water. Olivia Bullard sustained a nasty cut, but another child took the incident to heart, and decided to do something about it.
Lakyn Wilson, 12, is the daughter of Matthew and Tori Wilson of the Lake. Lakyn took it upon herself to clean up the lake during the Independence Day weekend. Tina Richardson posted a photo to Facebook commending Lakyn on a job well done. The photo spread far and wide among fans of Lake Waccamaw.
“So sad that people cannot clean up after themselves, but this sweet girl took it upon herself to clean up the lake today,” said Richardson in her post on July 4.
She spent hours in the water picking up every can and bottle that she could find. She filled many bags, and even the storage compartment of a jet ski. She did the cleanup all on her own, without anyone asking her to do so.
At the time of the original Facebook book post, Lakyn’s total was 60 bottles and cans. By the end of the day, her total was well over a hundred.
Lake Waccamaw town officials want to remind those visiting the area that littering is not just unsightly and dangerous, but it’s also a crime.
North Carolina state law requires aluminum cans and plastic bottles to be placed in recycling containers where available, and are not to be disposed of in the water under any circumstance. To help maintain a clean and safe environment for visitors and wildlife, officials at the Lake urge visitors to place trash in proper containers. Wildlife may mistake plastic bags for food and may become entangled in discarded fishing line or other types of litter.
Burying trash is prohibited. Shifting winds and other types of weather may expose trash and endanger wildlife and the environment.
When litter is blown, scattered, spilled, thrown or placed from a vehicle or watercraft, the operator can be held responsible.
Littering carries a sizable fine — the minimum fine for a first offense of littering is $250 with maximum fines going as high as $1,000. Subsequent offenses can bring community service requirements and fines of up to $2,000.
Intentional littering in the amount of 15 pounds or less is a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250 to $1,000 and up to 24 hours of community service.
Unintentional littering in the amount of 15 pounds or less is an infraction punishable by a fine of up to $100 and up to 12 hours of community service.
Under North Carolina’s anti-littering law, individuals may be fined and face community service for unintentional littering as well as tossing trash where it doesn’t belong.