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Volunteers get down on trash at Litter Sweep

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Volunteers pick up trash along Edgewood Drive during the first day of the state Litter Sweep campaign, Saturday morning. Pictured (l-r) are Lisa Hacker, Jenn Tillett and Jamie Kennedy. The three are employees at the Pasquotank Department of Social Services and were joined by (not in photo) Rene Bingham and Dana Hart.

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By Chris Day
Multimedia Editor

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Saturday’s skies were ugly but that didn’t stop residents from getting outside and trying to make Pasquotank County a prettier place. 

The statewide Litter Sweep campaign kicked off Saturday and locally volunteers spent the day picking up trash from city streets and roads. While the skies threatened to burst in a downpour at any moment, the rain in Elizabeth City never seemed worse than a light drizzle. In Camden County, the day’s cleanups were canceled over concerns of inclement weather. Groups in Camden that had planned to pick up trash Saturday still have until April 27, which is the final day of the campaign.     

In Elizabeth City, a team of case managers from the Pasquotank County Department of Social Services got started at 6 a.m. Wearing yellow reflective vests and work gloves, and armed with trash bags and litter grabbers the five women patrolled southward along Southern Avenue. They filled three orange bags and left them on the side of the road to be picked up and hauled away by the county. 

The garbage included everything from cigarette butts and empty cigarette packages, to glass and plastic bottles, cups, paper bags, shoes, a work glove and more. People driving by on Southern Avenue expressed their appreciation for the group’s early-morning efforts. 

“There were a couple of people who drove by and thanked us,” said Lisa Hacker, one of the members of the Pink and Orange team. “That was pretty cool.”

Hacker was joined on the team by colleagues Dana Hart, Jamie Kennedy, Jenn Tillett and Rene Bingham. 

“We just wanted to clean up our community, to give back to the community a little bit,” Bingham said, when asked why they volunteered.

Once finished on Southern Avenue the team moved to Edgewood Drive, where they walked and picked up trash from Parkview Drive to Weeksville Road. They finished at 10 a.m. and Bingham said the team plans to go back out Monday and Wednesday and pick up litter on other streets.  

Across town Donnie Markham and several volunteers representing No Limit Fitness got started at 10 a.m. bagging trash along Halstead Boulevard Extended. 

Around 11:30 a.m. the group of about six people was seen walking along the westbound shoulder and had nearly reached Thunder Road. They had already filled three bags and were planning to work till 2 p.m. Markham, who is the owner of No Limit Fitness, said about five other volunteers from his group started at the Tanglewood end of Halstead Extended and were working east back toward them.  

Markham said they thought the Litter Sweep would be a great way to serve the community and they plan to do it again in the fall as their own community service project. 

“There seems to be a lot more litter now than there used to be,” he said. “Which is a shame.”

Halstead Extended is heavily traveled and there was a lot of trash to be collected. 

“I don’t think we’ll even make a dent in it,” Markham said, acknowledging his group faced a challenge. “We’ll do the best we can.” 

One member of Markham’s group said she volunteered because she was concerned about the trash that other people toss out their car windows. 

“We’re helping out to pick up this trash that people carelessly throw out here without thinking about what they’re doing to our environment,” said Christina Pellerin. 

Litter Sweep ends Saturday, April 27, and in addition to Camden and Pasquotank, other area participating counties include Perquimans and Chowan. Additional participating groups in Pasquotank County include the Elizabeth City Senior Women’s Club, Grace Montessori School, Albemarle School, Christ Episcopal Church, River City YouthBuild, the River Road National Honor Society and Pasquotank County administrative staff.

The organization Green $aves Green and the Pasquotank County Solid Waste Department helped organize the Litter Sweep in Pasquotank.

More than 20 groups in Camden County have registered to participate. According to Brenda Bowman, who organized the Camden effort, a few of those groups include Camden Intermediate School’s Jr. Beta Club, Camden County High School’s National Honor Society, the South Mills VFD, the Camden County 4-H, U.S. Coast Guard, plus several county departments and individuals.

The counties provided the funding for the reflective vests, gloves, plastic trash bags and trash grabbers that are being used by the volunteers. 

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