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South Carolina: The Really Dirty South





Yuck! South Carolina has given new meaning to the term “Dirty South.”

According to the American Society for Public Administration’s 2014 American Litter Scorecard, the Palmetto State ranks LAST in the cleaniness of public spaces and is now the country’s dirtiest state.

Steve Spacek, the Litter Scorecard’s creator, slammed South Carolina in the report saying:

“A once-proud Palmetto State is the poster child on how not” to care for public spaces, and its public citizens and officials are the poster children “on how not to ‘respect’ precious landscapes and properties.”

Spacek gave the following reasons for South Carolina’s poor standing:

  • The state is spending a “woefully-low” annual amount of $21 per person on environmental protection services
  • Licensed drivers were rated among the worst for “lacking commonsense knowledge of littering and other roadway laws”
  • Residents are the second most wasteful Americans, throwing away more “un-reused and un-recycled items per day” than all but one other state
  • The state has yet to enact litter-reducing container deposits or comprehensive recycling




  1. kenneth Zanio

    April 27, 2014 at 7:47 am

    I’ve lived in South Carolina for 6 years I’m from upstate New York they should be ashamed the way they treat this state the roadways Littered with all types of garbage and debris if you drive up 77 you can pick up enough items including a ladder to build a home the other day there was an entire Deck laying on the side of the roadI always said if it wasn’t for the weather and even that’s been lousy lately nobody would move here although the although the locals love chewing tobacco smoking your cigarettes drinking a soda and throwing the remnants wherever they feel like it I see it everyday it’s disgusting !

  2. S. Spacek

    April 27, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    The SC littering problems should not be exclusively attributed to local, native South Carolinians. Many of SC litterers come from/grew up in states to its north, including Mr. Zanio’s New York. In state-initiated litter studies from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, observers found residents from The Empire State major contributors to NJ, PA nad MA public spaces littering. New York, now rated “above average,” barely and temporarily made it to BEST status in a previous Scorecard. Its largest City, Manhattan, is still TRAVEL+LEISURE’s #1 “America’s Dirtiest City” [Atlanta is T+L’s (#5) “Dirtiest City’ and closest to South Carolina]. Like South Carolina, NY State still has yet to enact statewide, litter-reducing comprehensive recycling Like SC, NY has, in recent years, poorly promoted (but not yet abandoned) its state “Lets Pick It Up” anti-littering campaign. Both SC and NY licensed drivers are rated very poorly for their knowledge of littering and other roadway laws. Both SC and NY suffer from HIGH corruption risks in public service activities dictated from Capitols at Columbia and Albany. Finally, in SC and NY, there has been, since 2008, a major upswing in fatalities from vehicle crashes with unremoved debris/litter on roadways. For New York, that is VERY BAD NEWS, since msot other LARGE states (California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania) have seen a significant REDUCTION of those particular deaths, past five years.

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