The Guilford County Division of Public Health is venturing out well beyond the borders of the county and attempting to have statewide impact on something that’s becoming more and more of a concern of the department: Discarded trash along the highways and roads.

Guilford County Health Director Merle Green said officials in the health division had noticed a great deal of trash along the roads as well as in other places and they began wondering why drivers no longer see signs along the highway discouraging them from throwing out trash.

Green said her department is petitioning the state to reinstate the signs and take other steps to discourage people from trashing the roadways. She said the trash isn’t just an eyesore, it’s also a public health and sanitation issue.

According to Green, the department has gotten very positive feedback from initial conversations with a state representative and those conversations will now expand.

“We’ve always had an interest in roadside trash,” Green said of her department.

She said it’s a shame in a county with roadways and scenery as beautiful as that in Guilford County, there is often trash ruining the view. Green said the removal of the anti-littering signs was a mistake.

“You no longer see those signs that say the fine for littering is $200 or whatever,” she said. “We want to see some effort put back into addressing this problem. Not only is it an eyesore, it creates an unhealthy environment.

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, the minimum fine for a first offense of littering is $250 and the maximum fine for first offenses can be as high as $1,000. Repeat offenders can get community service and fines as high as $2,000.

The state’s Department of Transportation does have an existing “Swat-A-Litterbug Program.”