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Cleanup efforts slated for April

By Staff | Mar 28, 2012

The WV Make It Shine Program is a comprehensive program sponsored by the WV Department of Environmental Protection aimed at making West Virginia the cleanest state in the nation.

Throughout the state, groups of volunteers, businesses, community organizations and local governments are working to accomplish this goal. It is the responsibility of the WV Make It Shine Program to coordinate the effort of these people to make our state shine. The WV Make It Shine Program is involved in several events each year.

The statewide cleanup is held during the first two weeks of April each year. During this time, volunteers can receive assistance in conducting cleanups on public lands. The resources available include gloves, bags, hauling (in conjunction with the DOH), and landfill fees.

Local clean-up efforts include an e-cycling event, White Goods day, and a tire collection, all scheduled to take place on April 14.

On April 20, the Make It Shine Program will sponsor an Earth Day celebration at The Clay Center in Charleston. During this event, school children are exposed to various displays regarding environmental protection, resource conservation, and energy efficiency. Many of these displays are “hands on” for the students.

In June, the program will co-sponsor the largest cleanup of its kind in the United States. Each June, communities all along the Ohio River pitch in to clean the river and its banks of litter.

For more information on participating in the Ohio River Sweep, call 1-800-322-5530.

Other clean-up WVDEP programs include the Adopt-A-Highway and Adopt-A-Spot litter control initiatives.

The Adopt-A-Highway Program is co-sponsored by the Division of Highways and the Department of Environmental Protection. It was established in the late 1980’s under the DNR (now a REAP Program) to improve the quality of our environment by encouraging public involvement in the elimination of highway litter. Its objective is to save taxpayers money by increasing public awareness and to serve as an educational tool by focusing on the consequences which result when littering is allowed to continue unchecked. The program offers volunteers the opportunity to take charge of their own environment by making a positive effort to create a cleaner, more aesthetic place in which to live.

Individuals, families, churches, businesses, schools, civic organizations, government agencies, fraternities and communities are eligible to “adopt” highways and spots throughout the state. These areas include almost any state maintained road: dirt roads, back roads, and main routes. Private roads and interstate highways may not be adopted. Roads deemed unsafe will not be approved for adoption.

The state disposes of bagged trash and furnishes garbage bags, signs, work gloves and safety vests. Volunteers provide time and energy.

Volunteer group names are posted on signs at each end of the adopted road about 60 days after the first cleanup is reported.

Volunteers are subject to the following rules: Volunteers must be at least 12 years old to participate in this program; Adopting groups must clean adopted roads with their own membership and may not subcontract the work; Adopted roads must be two continuous miles long. NOT adoptable are: two separate one-mile sections, one mile on each side of a highway, T-shaped or L-shaped sections; Adoptions are for two years and are renewable; Litter must be picked up at least three times a year, at least 30 days apart and each cleanup must be reported; Adopters must notify the Division of Highways county garage three days prior to each cleanup; All volunteers are required to watch the Adopt-A-Highway Safety Video prior to picking up litter; Safety vests furnished by the state must be worn by all volunteers during cleanups; “Litter Cleanup Ahead” signs must be posted during cleanups; and volunteers are encouraged to recycle items found on roadsides.

The Adopt-A-Spot Program is an extension of the Adopt-A-Highway Program and allows volunteers to adopt smaller sections of state roadside rights-of-way for the purpose of keeping them litter free. One recognition sign bearing the adopters name will be posted on site after the first litter cleanup.

All Adopt-A-Highway rules apply to Adopt-a-Spot, with the following exceptions: The adopted “Spot” may be no longer than 1/4 mile in length. There is no age limit. However, the state may deny unsafe areas based on the age of the volunteers.

For more information on the WV Make It Shine Program, contact Candice Carter, REAP assistant, at 800-332-5530 or email Candice.Carter@wv.gov.

For more information on the Adopt-A-Highway Program, contact Gregory Rote, program manager, at 304-926-0499, extension 1270 or email Gregory.A.Rote@wv.gov.