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People are responding to county's litter cleanup campaign

Flat Rock Mayor Nick Weedman, Vice Mayor Anne Coletta (not shown) and council members Susan Gregory (left) and Pam Tiles picked up 10 bags of trash along Highland Lake Road on April 21. Flat Rock Mayor Nick Weedman, Vice Mayor Anne Coletta (not shown) and council members Susan Gregory (left) and Pam Tiles picked up 10 bags of trash along Highland Lake Road on April 21.

Henderson County's campaign to clean up its litter-strewn roadways is having some success.

 

Commissioner Rebecca McCall spearheaded the effort starting in February after she noticed a substantial increase in the amount of roadside trash and larger household discards.

"There was a box spring and a mattress and across from Blue Ridge Community College there was a recliner," she told the Local Government Committee for Cooperative Action last week. "So if you needed furniture for your house you were all set." Since then, she said, she's noticed a great improvement.

McCall got a lot of reaction from people who said they, too, had noticed the proliferation of roadside litter. One man called her about a bag of trash someone had collected and left on the roadside near Glenn Marlow Elementary School in Mills River. He said he kept wondering when someone would come pick it up. Then "with these words in my head" from McCall and her Keep Henderson County Beautiful campaign, "I went and picked up the big bag of trash."

Also since the campaign started, three more highways have been adopted locally by corporations or organizations that commit to periodic roadside litter pickup.

The NCDOT has three programs for litter pickup in addition to Adopt-a-Highway: Sponsor a Highway, often a project of a corporation or a large civic club; contract litter removal crews the NCDOT pays; and the semiannual Litter Sweep, a statewide pickup program, which just ended its April effort.

McCall roadside pickup is important because roads are the first thing a newcomer sees.

"If I'm a new business owner and I'm coming to this area to look (to locate here), I'm going to say, 'Oh my goodness. This the way they keep their roads?' I might want to come here," she said.

The Flat Rock Village Council got into the cleanup on Wednesday, April 21, picked up 10 bags of trash along Highland Lake Road. The crew was made up of Mayor Nick Weedman, Vice Mayor Anne Coletta and council members Susan Gregory and Pam Tiles.

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Litter Sweep volunteers are provided with clean-up supplies such as trash bags, gloves and safety vests from local NCDOT County Maintenance Yard offices. All volunteers are encouraged to follow proper COVID-19 safety guidance. This includes wearing a mask and gloves at all times and keeping six feet apart from other volunteers. To sign up or to get more information, visit the Litter Sweep web page or call 919-707-2970.