ROCKINGHAM — The amount of roadside litter picked up in May was about one-third of that from the previous month.
According to stats from the Richmond County Solid Waste Department, state and county workers collected 3.72 tons of trash last month, filling up 326 bags.
That’s a far cry from the 9.44 tons from regular clean-up plus 1,236 pounds during the Spring Litter Sweep recorded in April — and more in line with an average month.
Two illegal dump sites were also reported last month near Hamlet: one on Louis Breeden Boulevard, the other near the intersection of Springhill Church Road and Scholl Shankle Road.
More than 37.5 tons of garbage have been picked up from county roads so far in 2023, with totals in three months — January, March and April — exceeding 9 tons.
Records show 63.65 tons of litter were picked up in 2022 — surpassing the previous year by more than three tons.
The monthly Solid Waste Report includes the combined efforts of county employees and workers with the N.C. Department of Transportation.
County Manager Bryan Land announced Tuesday during his budget presentation that two new employees would be hired to help keep the roadsides clear of debris.
The Solid Waste Report, which is usually highlighted in Land’s monthly report to the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, used to include which roads were cleaned. However, reports over the past several months have been simplified.
The most consistent problematic area has been south of Rockingham, including Airport Road.
While the county continues to fight what Land has referred to as an “epidemic,” individuals, organizations and local businesses have joined the battle.
There are 26 active Adopt-A-Highway groups in the county, according to NCDOT. One of those is from American Woodmark, which picks up trash along Freeman Mill Road near its plant south of Hamlet.
Other companies, including von Drehle and Vulcan Materials have also cleaned up near their facilities.
Anyone wanting to contribute to the effort is encouraged to contact Public Works Director Jerry Austin or Assistant Public Works Director Bryan Leggett.