JEFFERSON – About fifty volunteers signed up with the township Department of Public Works recently to help pickup trash that has accumulated along the streets and roads throughout the town. Saturday, April 26 was the official day set aside for the mass collection but many people are still using the DPW-donated garbage bags to collect trash from their neighborhoods.
According to Patty Romano, engineering secretary with the DPW, the volunteers who are helping out are pretty evenly split between the Oak Ridge section of town and the Lake Hopatcong section of town. The township DPW is collecting bags of garbage and debris left in piles along side the roads, said Romano.
In the Lake Hopatcong area, Girl Scout leader Alyce Maynard said 13 of her scouts spent two hours on Saturday and collected 15 bags of garbage in The Peaks, a 400-home community located atop Mase Mountain.
“We were only in the wooded areas. We haven’t even been on the roads yet,” said Maynard who also had the girls out on Sunday.
Maynard said the scouts, five sixth-graders from Troop #869 and eight fourth-graders from Troop #4398, have banded together because “they feel the need to beautify our community.” The girls from Troop #869 will each put in 20 hours of volunteer time to achieve their Community Service Bar. Troop #4398 members will also need 20 hours each to achieve their Bronze Award.
Maynard, disheartened by what she saw in her own neighborhood this past weekend, is confident all the girls can complete their hours just in The Peaks. There is that much garbage strewn throughout the area she said.
“I believe most of the garbage is there not because people intentionally throw it on the ground. I just think people become careless with their trash cans and recyclables,” she said.
Joe and Jean Pilewski were out Saturday, despite Joe’s recent back surgery, walking up and down Espanong Road between Ripplewood Drive and Rt. 181, each filling a large garbage bag with trash and recyclables which Jean said she would separate once she got home. This is the first time they’ve volunteered for the scheduled cleanup, said Jean, but they are not strangers to keeping their community tidy. According to Jean, the couple frequently kayaks on Lake Hopatcong, specifically near the area around Liffy Island or in the canals. They are always armed with a garbage bag and a scooping device, said Jean, and tries to see who can collect the most trash.
Residents from the Department for Persons with Disabilities spent a portion of Saturday taking care of the area close to their location on Weldon Road. A single resident from Holland Mountain Road took on the task of cleaning that very winding, hilly road and collected multiple bags of garbage, said Romano.
If anyone is interested in helping with the cleanup, contact Romano at the DPW at 973-208-3639. Garbage bags, rubber gloves and ‘grabbers’ are available, she said.