Sussex County employees hitting the road to clean up litter

As part of Gov. John Carney’s Keep DE Litter Free initiative, Sussex County employees will be teaming up on Sept. 20 in a roadside clean-up effort. (Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe)

GEORGETOWN — Sussex County employees will soon be hitting the road in voluntary efforts to keep Delaware litter free.

As a participant of Gov. John Carney’s “Keep DE Litter Free” initiative launched in late April, Sussex County government on Sept. 20 is giving county employees the chance to pick up litter and debris along roadways identified as problem areas and trouble spots for illegal dumping.

The clean-up effort is being held in conjunction with the Employee Benefit Committee’s annual barbecue luncheon.

“It’s kind of a gathering for staff to get together,” said Michael Costello, the county’s governmental affairs manager Tuesday in a presentation to county council.

“We thought it would be a great opportunity to assemble as a group, develop some teams and go out and do some roadside collection of trash and debris that we find out there to help participate in the governor’s initiative.”

Nearly 50 employees are scheduled to take part in the afternoon clean-up following the employee appreciation luncheon.

“This is a way to encourage groups, organizations, individuals to be more active in picking up trash, being responsible for your litter, recycling efforts and all of that sort of thing,” Mr. Costello said.

“We’ve identified roads in each of your councilmatic districts that we intend to head out and do some cleanups on the 20th. We’ve already coordinated with DelDOT for pickup. We’ve got supplies covered, and all of those things taken care of.”

The county’s hope is that this will become an annual event.

“Sussex County is taking this opportunity to not just celebrate our employees for their hard work each day, but it’s a chance for us to give back and celebrate our commitment to the community,” said Sussex County Administrator Todd F. Lawson. “This is a first for the county but based on the interest and response from our employees so far, I hope we can make this an annual tradition.”

“We are hoping that perhaps the net results might provide momentum to make this an annual event,” said Mr. Costello, who prior to his employment with Sussex County was a police officer with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. “We’re kind of hopeful to bring back some encouraging results on this.”

This voluntary clean-up is among the efforts the county has undertaken to address the problem of roadside litter and illegal dumping.

Michael Costello

The county’s support has included promotion of the Delaware CrimeStoppers program targeting illegal dumping and littering along roadways.

In early June 2018, Sussex County Council agreed to a memorandum of understanding in partnership with the Delaware Department of Correction and Department of Transportation that allocates county funds to augment regular cleanup efforts already undertaken by the state on more than 2,300 miles of roadway in southern Delaware.

As of August, the county has dedicated more than $210,000; the partnership has netted nearly 3,300 bags of trash from some 340 miles of roads in the county.

“Currently, and prior to this initiative, the county has been very receptive and proactive in trying to help with this effort through our CrimeStoppers and our MOU with DOC and Department of Transportation,” Mr. Costello said.

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