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Authority Discusses Litter Control

By Staff | Mar 9, 2016

At the Thursday, March 3 meeting of the Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority, New Martinsville’s sixth ward councilwoman Iris Isaacs stated that she could fill the room with people who share her concern about the litter problem in Wetzel County.

“I’ve asked those people to wait and see if we can make any progress, and hopefully I don’t have to fill this room up,” she stated.

Isaac’s said one of the solid waste authority’s main objectives is to have a control plan for litter.

“From Route 2, to Route 89, to Doolin Run Road, all over this county, the issues consist of not only litter everywhere but individuals who keep their property as a dump waste site,” Isaacs said. “This takes away from the beauty of this area and makes it unattractive for anyone who wishes to move here,” she added.

Isaacs said she had glanced at the authority’s control plan, and “there are areas and problems you have listed that are no more than words on paper with unsatisfactory results.”

“To solve the littler problems, all of us will have to work together. The Solid Waste Authority needs communication with the Wetzel County Commission, Department of Highways, and more. I’m asking you to prioritize your actions to focus more on the litter problem,” she said.

Isaac’s ideas for litter control included signs on the country roads, letters to drilling or trucking companies warning of heavy fines, containers set up for community cleanups, and encouraging law enforcement to set citations.

Further ideas included awareness of recycling, supplying trash bags for individuals who volunteer time, a designated time for littler pickup, and a program for individuals who break the law, which would involve litter pickup as community service.

Isaacs said she planned on meeting with the county commissioners about the issue as well.

“Just a friendly warning, I don’t go away easily, and I want to see some results,” she told the authority.

“I love my hometown, county, and state, but I don’t like people who want to destroy the natural beauty of this great land.

“I believe by working together, any goal can be accomplished.”

Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority Executive Director Terri Tyler noted that litter is a big concern for her as well. She said Wetzel County does not have a litter control officer, but she hoped it was something the county could acquire in the future.

Of the litter problem, Tyler noted, “It’s a very bad situation.”

The authority’s chairman, Bill Hughes, asked Tyler if she knew if larger counties have litter control officers.

“Anyone can be a litter control officer, if you take the training,” Tyler stated, adding that an individual in Marion County who has the same position as her took training and is a litter control officer.

Tyler said many times a deputy sheriff is the officer. Also, the county commission has to appoint the officer.

“They don’t all have to be paid by the county commissioners,” she said, adding, “but it is a joint project.”

Tyler said she has been to litter control officer meetings, and “if you see the images and things they have done, it is amazing what happens in other counties… “

Authority member Steve Conlon recommended signs as a cost-effective way to help combat the litter problem.

Isaacs, again, suggested fining those who litter would get the message across.

“If you litter, you will pay the piper,” she said, adding that this does not seem to be the general attitude of some of the law enforcement officers.

“I know they are busy, and my heart goes out to them, but we have to do something,” she said.

Isaacs noted that since the drillers have “come to town, it has gotten worse.” However, she added that she did not want to blame the drillers, as it seems to be an issue of “general attitude.”

Authority member Brian Ensinger suggested that people pick up litter in their own neighborhood. Ensinger said when he walks in his neighborhood, he has “one bag for my dog and one for pickup.”

Ensinger said the attitude is about taking “pride in your neighborhood and caring about your neighborhood.”

Tyler said Huntington started a program in which they bought “litter getters.”

“I can get some from the state,” she noted. “You don’t have to touch the litter with your hands.”

Tyler said the community in Huntington handed out the litter getters to “a couple of people on each block.’

Tyler said right now she has one volunteer who has picking up litter on Route 89.

Conlon said he’s encouraged to see the bags of litter on Route 89. However, he said he has also spotted evidence of people burning mattresses.

“The burning of mattresses is more serious than litter, and that is part of the dilemma that we face, the proper placement of things. There is a lot of burning that goes on, burning of plastics and whatnot. I feel more motivated to stop and ask the guy to not burn the mattresses than to deal with the litter.”

Tyler suggested that the authority itself get involved and clean up a spot. “We can put it in the paper and show we are serious about picking up litter. We can show that no one is beyond putting on gloves and picking up litter.”

At the end of the solid waste authority meeting, during public comment, Wetzel County Commissioner Don Mason encouraged the authority to speak with the commission about a litter control plan. “Let’s go out and clean this county up,” he said.

In another matter, Tyler gave an update on the county’s recycling program. Since July 2015 the solid waste authority has collected 142,382 pounds of recyclables from the public during its Saturday recycling days. The authority has collected 52,563.5 pounds from the schools since July 2015.

Authority member Mark Cochran commended the crew that helps with recycling each week, and he further commended the public for bringing their recyclables each week.

“We don’t make anything off of this at all. it is done as a public service to the community,” he said.

The solid waste authority collects recyclable items each Saturday at 250 North Street, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Items collected are: plastic #1,2,4, and 5; newspaper, magazines, books, paper, shredded paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, bi metal cans, and glass.

Bi metal cans need to be rinsed and have labels removed. All items need to be separated in bags or containers by material. Glass needs to be rinsed free of food residue and have the caps removed, and glass bottles must have the lids removed and put in with bi metal.