Local anti-litter group heads to Raleigh this week

New organization works to educate and enforce littering issues in the Leland area

LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - The Greater Leland Beautification Coalition, a chapter of the Alliance for a Litter-Free North Carolina, has recently formed to spread awareness about the litter issues in the Cape Fear area.

The group is heading to Raleigh on Friday and they are asking for more people to join them as they fight to make anti-litter laws strong and figure out a budget to help keep the roads clean.

“Our alliance, our coalition; we would like to see this behavior a thing of the past," said co-chair Nancy Celli. "We would like to look back and five, ten, 15, 20-years and say ‘You know what? People used to litter in our roadways, in our waterways, in our communities, but they don’t do that anymore. Isn’t that wonderful?’”

The coalition was formed by Rosemarie Russo and Celli in January 2020. Both ladies live in Leland and noticed several areas around town were covered with trash. Russo posted on Nextdoor, the social networking site for neighborhoods, about the problem and got a large response. That’s when she and Celli decided to start a group to address the litter problem in the area.

“Mattresses, chairs," said Russo. "I mean huge items. How are they even doing that? What’s happening? And why isn’t it being picked up?”

The group is focused on many things including educating young minds about litter issues.

“We’re going to go into the classrooms and we would like to go in and educate children, of all ages, not to litter,” said Celli.

The coalition also would like to see local law enforcement enforce stricter punishment for those who litter. Right now under North Carolina’s anti-litter law, it may be fined and face community service for littering, according to NCDOT.

“We want to go to Raleigh," said Russo. "We want to talk to the governor if we can. We just want to bring more attention to, why isn’t their money for cleaning up litter?”

“Why is it the state is taking in taxes and not cleaning our state?" said Celli. "What is happening with the tax money? So that’s what we want to go to Raleigh for. We’re going to find out what is actually happening to our tax base and why are all these nice neighborhoods being built in the greater Leland area and they are having to drive through all of these roads that are not being cleaned?”

Celli says cleaning up the litter can also help address the issue. The coalition plans to work with NCDOT regarding Adopt-A-Highway and the biannual sweep programs. This year’s spring sweep is April 11-25.

“We want to see the funding changed and we want to see the anti-litter law changed,” said Celli.

The Greater Leland Beautification Coalition is asking for people to join their core team. If you’re interested in taking part, please email stoplitternow2020@gmail.com. You can also reach out to Celli and Russo via email to learn more about their trip to Raleigh on Feb. 7.

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