Communities are showing more pride

For years, when area residents heard about community cleanups, it was usually a time where some of the local cities were offering to take some extra refuse or unwanted items off of people’s hands.

Weirton holds two such events each year, for example, at which time residents can clean out their basements, attics or other crawl spaces and toss some of those long-hidden-away non-treasures which may have broken years ago and were just quietly placed in some out-of-the-way corner.

Those broken items are placed on the curb on the appropriate day and collected with your regular garbage pick-up.

Other towns provide trash dumpsters at central points where residents could bring their items and throw them away to be picked up later.

Even with that, we occasionally hear residents talk about the amount of litter lining the streets and roadways of our area.

That’s why it’s been nice to see more of our local towns hold another type of cleanup event in recent weeks, with groups gathering volunteers to go out into their neighborhoods and collect some of the items detracting from our civic beauty.

A few weeks back Weirton held such a litter collection, with volunteers gathering in Municipal Plaza before spreading out to various points downtown to pick up refuse and other items thrown along the sidewalks and in the gutters and trenches or behind the guardrails.

The number of folks who turned out varies depending on whom you ask (I counted around 30 when the collection began, but others said it was higher). However many there were, though, the results were noticeable. All one had to do was drive up Cove Hill or Marland Heights Road that weekend and see the number of litter-filled green bags along the way to see the kind of effort made.

On Saturday, after a rain delay last weekend, the Downtown Wellsburg Revitalization Group hosted a cleanup of its own. This was the second year for this group.

Officials noted last year’s event included the painting of curbs and other beautification projects in the city.

Other towns, including Beech Bottom, New Cumberland, Chester and Newell have had such events for several years, even being recognized throughout West Virginia for their efforts.

There are going to be those who insist such collections should be up to the municipal governments, but why should that be the case? These communities are our homes. We should all be willing to lend a hand and do our part. Governments can’t be expected to do everything for us.

One of the big ways we can all help is to not throw any of our trash into the streets. I would hope people aren’t eating a sandwich while they are driving, but if you happen to be doing so, it’s OK to not throw the wrapper out your window. You can keep it with you until you get home, or whatever your next destination might be, and throw it in the garbage there.

Another option is for neighbors to organize a group cleanup around their own homes. While a lot of attention is focused on areas such as Main Street, Marland Heights Road and Cove Road in Weirton, for example, I can tell you there was a fair amount of litter picked up in a few residential spots as well, with papers, fast food cups and more found on the street in front of some houses.

It’s important for all of us to take pride in our communities, and it’s good to see some of that pride starting to spread in our area. I would encourage more of our residents to take even a few minutes a week and try to find a way to do their part in continuing this effort.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)