Emporia Deputy Director of Public Services, Alton Mason presented the Public Works Department plan of the city’s annual Spring Cleanup Day plan to the Emporia City Council Tuesday. It quickly evolved into a discussion of mounting trash throughout the municipality.
“Everywhere you go, there is a trash can,” City Manager William Johnson said. “For me, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for anyone to take a mask off (and throw it down) by the CVS, Food Lion, Rosie’s, or Main St. There are trash cans everywhere in the city. If everyone were to manage themselves, police themselves, we’d get a lot more done.”
Johnson said city crews cleaned the storm drains in Emporia in January. It did not take a week before the storm drains were as before, cluttered with garbage.
Councilman Jim Saunders said he is frustrated about the amount of trash he sees in the streets of Emporia. He hopes to get more residents to volunteer to pick up trash throughout the city.
Saunders suggested having people sitting at sites where large amounts of garbage are piling up from people tossing it out of their vehicles.
“If we can put some teeth into it, somehow, someway, send some messages out by giving citations to violators, it might help,” he said.
Mason said there is up to a $2,500 fine for those caught littering and dumping garbage.
Councilwoman Carol Mercer said she sees tires and other garbage dumped throughout Emporia. Saunders took it a step further and said the litter problem isn’t exclusive to Emporia. It’s everywhere.
Councilman Clifton Threat said part of the problem could be a lack of dump sites for citizens. Greensville County closed some of its dumping sites. Without a sticker on a vehicle, people may not be able to use the landfill services.
Threat said it wouldn’t hurt to contact the county to initiate more dumping sites and easing the restrictions on the use of the landfill.
“People are just dumping trash bags, tires, furniture, mattresses —you name it because they don’t have access to some of these sites,” he said.
Mason is encouraging residents to meet at 7 a.m. at the Emporia Shopping Center on Saturday, May 1, for the Public Works Department annual Spring Cleanup Day. Supplies will be provided to volunteers, who will pick up trash on streets, parks, vacant lots, and other areas of the city.
Residents should have their grass, leaves, and yard waste bagged and kept separate from other refuse. The Spring Clean-Up Day is the start of the annual Spring Cleanup effort to make the City of Emporia a cleaner place to live. The cleanup is May 3-14. For more information about the initiative, contact the City of Emporia Public Works Department at 434-634-4500.
“The first impression is the lasting impression,” Mason said.