Crowd complains about W.Va. litter

April 03, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - E.O. Hamstead, 83, is tired of cleaning up other people's litter.

"I think I've done my share of picking up along Route 9," the Kearneysville, W.Va., man said Thursday night. "I'd like to retire."

Hamstead was one of about 60 people packed the meeting room Thursday night at the Jefferson County Commissioner's weekly meeting to discuss litter.

Residents urged a wide-range of solutions, from more enforcement by police to a county tax on cans, bottles and fast food restaurants to pay for clean up crews.


"You are asking the property owners and the people who live along the highway to become perpetual janitors for the bums who throw out the trash," Commissioner James K. Ruland Hamstead told the commissioners.

Residents said they are tired of seeing litter lining the highway.

There are 314 miles of highway in Jefferson County and about 102 miles have been "adopted" by 43 different individuals or groups who have agreed to clean sections of the roadway at least three times a year, said Barbara Henry, district environmental coordinator with the Division of Natural Resources' Office of Conservation Education and Litter Control.

The state provides the volunteers with bags, orange safety vests, and "Men at Work" signs to help the volunteers clean up the road way. State highway workers later pick up the trash bags left along the highway.

Henry said one group had adopted a section of W.Va. 9 to clean, but gave it up.

"It actually became too much to do. It's a dangerous road," she said.

The state spent $20,000 about three years ago to clean up an area near the Virginia line where there is an overlook, she said.

She said it now looks like no clean up had occurred there.

Other residents said that the overlook area on W.Va. 9 is one of the worst places for litter in Jefferson County.

"It disgusts me," said Daniel Duncan, 45, of Charles Town, W.Va.

Duncan said the litter makes the whole state look bad to people traveling into West Virginia.

"That's their first impression," he said.

One man said a large group gathers at the overlook to drink and throw bottles and cans over the side.

Some residents said they think the county should do more to clean up abandoned properties because trash is thrown on them and the dilapidated buildings are an eyesore and a hazard.

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