Wednesday, 14 October 2020 13:52

Nearly 30 tons of trash picked up from Richmond County roads during pandemic

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Nearly 30 tons of trash have been picked up along roads in Richmond County since March Nearly 30 tons of trash have been picked up along roads in Richmond County since March RO file photo

ROCKINGHAM — The current pandemic doesn’t seem to be affecting litterbugs in Richmond County.

In some ways, it may have made it worse.

Disposable face masks that residents wear to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can be seen scattered along roadsides and in parking lots in addition to traditional garbage like fast food bags and containers and alcoholic beverage bottles.

During his report to the Richmond County Board of Commissioners last week, County Manager Bryan Land said the Solid Waste Department picketed up 634 bags of trash — weighing around 5 tons — on 25 roads across the county in September.

Land said the county also removed 25 tires and investigated two illegal dumpsites.

As a comparison: in January state and county staff picked up about half that — 317 bags (3.5 tons) along 30 roads, 10 tires and investigated two dump sites.

Last month’s figures were similar to those from November 2019 when 584 bags (5.4 tons) of garbage were collected.

However, the figures have improved from September 2019 when Land reported 8.8 tons had been picked up.

“I personally haven’t seen a noticeable improvement,” Land told the RO on Oct. 14. “Our guys and DOT staff work tirelessly every month to clean our roadways throughout (Richmond County).”  

According to county solid waste reports since March, local and state employees have picked up 2,815 bags of trash and 244 tires for 28.7 tons of garbage.

Littering seemed to slow down in April, May and June, the only three months when fewer than 300 bags were picked up. Only 157 bags were picked up in May, records show.

The county has also investigated 11 illegal dump sites, and issued 10 warnings and nine citations. In March, 100 tires were removed from Enterprise Drive, near the Rockingham West Industrial Park.

The most consistent problem areas, aside from the state and federal highways, appear to be Airport Road, County Home Road, Mill Road, Mizpah Road, Sandhills Road and Wiregrass Road.

“It is really disturbing to see the amount of trash on our roadways,” Land said.

Bags of trash per month on select roads. Source: Richmond County Government