Thursday, 25 February 2021 12:36

von Drehle employees pick up three truckloads of trash near Cordova plant

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von Drehle employees Jason Fulp and Will Brown pick up trash Thursday morning near the Hitchcock Creek bridge in Cordova. von Drehle employees Jason Fulp and Will Brown pick up trash Thursday morning near the Hitchcock Creek bridge in Cordova. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

CORDOVA — A team of volunteers from von Drehle spent an hour Thursday morning cleaning up the neighborhood.

Justin Dawkins, director of operations, led employees in an effort to pick up trash in a half-mile stretch near the plant, from the curve by the main office to the speed limit sign on the other side of the bridge spanning Hitchcock Creek.

The crew split into two two groups, one starting at the curve and the other working along the bridge.

Dawkins’ group found around 200 beer cans — enough to fill up four trash bags — in one spot.

Meanwhile, Jason Fulp and several other employees climbed down the steep bank to pick up garbage that appeared to have been thrown over the bridge onto a strip of land between the creek and a dried creek bed.

The bags were tied to a rope and pulled up to the bridge.

After cleaning up their side, Dawkins’ group joined the other to continue from the bridge to the speed limit sign.

Aside from bottles, cans, jugs and cigar wrappers, clean-up crews also found several tires, a kid-sized mattress, a kid’s fishing rod, a pocketbook, an industrial-sized water-dispensing container, and the grill from a Nissan.

“The actual amount of trash was extremely depressing,” Dawkins said.

The refuse in that stretch was enough to fill the bed of a small company pickup truck three times — plus another bag.

Dawkins said von Drehle employees have been cleaning up the area for several years, including around the Blue Trail access point.

“It’s amazing what you find down there,” he said.

Some of those items have included a pool liner, kayak and a bottle used in shake-and-bake methamphetamine production.

Dawkins said he assumes a lot of the trash, especially the full discarded bags, is from people going to the nearby dump.

He added that one of the neighbors who lives around the curve was picking up garbage the day before.

“It’s good to see people taking pride right here in the neighborhood,” he said.

Dawkins said von Drehle employees “take pride in keeping our plant clean … and we want to make sure we’re responsible for the neighborhood we’re serving.

Roadside trash has been a topic of discussion among the Richmond County Board of Commissioners for several years. County Manager Bryan Land includes pick-up and citation statistics in his monthly report to the board, referring to the problem as an epidemic.

According to Land, 415 bags and eight tires were picked up from 19 roads in January, accounting for 5.1 tons of trash. The solid waste enforcement officer also investigated two illegal dump sites and issued two citations.

Dawkins was appointed to the board in November to replace Ben Moss, who was elected to the N.C. House of Representatives.

Moss recently co-sponsored a bill that would increase fines for litterbugs.

“Hopefully we can see our people be responsible for their trash, take it home with them, put it where it belongs, or tie down the trash on the way to the dumpsite,” Dawkins said. “I think this area is worse because it’s right here at a dump site.”

He encourages residents to make sure their bags are tied up and tied down on the way to the dump to keep garbage from flying out and scattering along the roads.



Last modified on Thursday, 25 February 2021 12:46