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W.Va. campaign fights litter

April 08, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - West Virginia officials Tuesday unveiled a new get-tough campaign to fight mountains of litter in the Mountain State.

Coordinators for Adopt-A-Highway, the volunteer trash pickup program in the state, offered volunteers a toll-free number they can call to report people who litter. They also discussed other new littler control efforts during a meeting at the Berkeley County Courthouse in Martinsburg.

The toll-free number to reporter littering is 1-800-322-5530.

People who litter in the state face a fine of between $50 and $2,000.

In addition to the toll-free number, Adopt-A-Highway officials unveiled a new campaign slogan, "Please make sure no one trashes West Virginia." The slogan will appear in radio and television spots, as well as on 72 anti-littering billboards across the state, officials said.

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Officials were not sure where the billboards would appear in the Eastern Panhandle.

There are several television spots for the new campaign. One shows a stern policeman pulling over a motorist and telling him what he could have bought with $2,000 - had he not been facing the state's top littering fine.

"It can't change overnight, but we can begin to make an impact," said Anna Shahan, state coordinator for Adopt-A-Highway. "We're trying a little shock therapy."

Adopt-A-Highway has been in place in West Virginia for nine years, but people are still littering, Shahan said. Adopt-A-Highway officials estimate the state spends $3 million a year to clean up litter.

Volunteers for Adopt-A-Highway say people often litter even while the volunteers are picking up trash along roadsides.

Residents in Berkeley and Jefferson counties have complained recently about litter despite their efforts to keep roadsides clean.

In the Adopt-A-Highway program, volunteers are assigned sections of local highways to clean up. The roads are marked by Adopt-A-Highway signs, which also identify the group responsible for that road.

There are 80 Adopt-A-Highway groups in Berkeley County, 43 in Jefferson County and 26 in Morgan County, according to Barbara Henry, district coordinator for the program.

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