All 55 West Virginia counties have successfully met Gov. Joe Manchin’s three-year initiative asking county leaders to adopt a number of measures designed to help eradicate litter and illegal open dumps across the state.
Counties had until this year to implement at least 12 of the 16 measures that are detailed in the state Department of Environmental Protection’s REAP (Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan) program or risk losing preferred status for receiving state economic funding assistance. The measures covered areas in law enforcement, cleanup and outreach/education.
“Unsightly litter is a major hindrance to our efforts to lure not only tourists to our state but it also diminishes our ability to recruit businesses and jobs,” Manchin said. “That’s why it’s so important for counties and municipalities to aggressively work toward managing and conducting the cleanup of litter that spoils West Virginia’s scenic beauty.”
Among the measures counties have adopted are: forming litter control task forces; hiring county litter control officers; adopting local ordinances to address junked vehicles and dilapidated housing; establishing annual countywide cleanups and tire collections; establishing community service/inmate programs for litter cleanups; coordinating with local, state and federal agencies in identifying and cleaning up illegal dumps and tire piles; offering recycling programs and adopting youth litter and recycling education programs.
REAP Chief Danny Haught praised the efforts of county leaders in meeting Gov. Manchin’s initiative and said REAP stands ready to continue helping the state’s counties and municipalities work toward their goals of being litter free.
“That’s why we’re here, to help them with resources and their goal of meeting these requirements,” Haught said. “We look forward to working together in making West Virginia the cleanest state in the country.”