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Local groups to wage war on littering

April 08, 2002|By DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

About a dozen state and local agencies are scheduled to come together Thursday to discuss ways of continuing the battle against littering, an official with one of the groups said Sunday.

Roadside littering and open dumps have been ongoing problems in the county, said officials with Keep Jefferson Beautiful Inc., a nonprofit group that formed five years ago.

Members of the group believe people who are not customers of Waste Management of the Shenandoah Valley or who do not use some other type of trash removal service sometimes dump their trash around the county.

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They pick out whatever inconspicuous place they can find to dump their garbage, according to John DeGurse, vice president of Keep Jefferson Beautiful.

DeGurse attributes open dumping and roadside litter to "growing incivility" in the country.

"People just don't care," he said.

But progress is being made, he said.

Keep Jefferson Beautiful has worked to increase the number of roadside trash pick-up groups from 40 to 60, and local law enforcement officials have beefed up enforcement of anti-littering laws, DeGurse said.

Last year, a new state law went into effect that allows magistrates to order people convicted of littering to do roadside pickup of trash as part of a community service requirement, DeGurse said. Jefferson County Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober assigned a deputy to oversee the roadside pick-up efforts, DeGurse said.

Also in use in the county are three so-called "groundhog cameras," which are video cameras that catch people dumping trash. The discreet cameras are installed in favorite dumping areas to catch violators, DeGurse said.

To maintain the focus on anti-littering efforts, about a dozen officials from the state Department of Natural Resources, Division of Highways, Department of Environmental Protection, Jefferson County Sheriff's office, West Virginia State Police and other agencies will come together Thursday for a litter control conference.

Perhaps "some synergy" will develop in the conference that will allow participants to come up with new ways of attacking the problem, DeGurse said.

The conference, which is open to the public, starts at 1:30 p.m. in the Jefferson County meeting room at 108 E. Washington St., Charles Town.

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