Sweep the county clean Saturday

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By The Staff

General Manager

If the litter along county roadways is any indication, Mountain Dew may be the most popular beverage in the county.

Henry County Judge Executive John Logan Brent said Monday that during the annual Henry County Clean Sweep roughly 80 percent of the litter picked up each year is a plastic bottle, typical a 16-ounce soda bottle.

"And of those, the most popular drink of choice, by far, is Mountain Dew," he said. "It's absolutely amazing. It must be the drink of choice in Henry County."

It's an amusing observation, but one that many of the teams who will be out combing Henry County roadways for litter this weekend will share. Saturday, the fifth annual Henry County Clean Sweep will take place in an effort to clean up county roadways and increase awareness of what Brent described as the litter problem in Henry County.

In its first year, the Clean Sweep depended entirely on volunteers, but eventually, those volunteers were given $100 per mile of roadway they cleaned up, thanks to a state administered grant.

To keep the grant, Brent said the county must maintain the equivalent of its roadway mileage each year.

"That's roughly about 400 miles of roads here in Henry County," he said. "Now, about 200 miles of that 430 are knocked out on one day every year in this county clean up."

The remaining miles are cleaned by inmate crews and solid waste employees.

Brent said for many of the volunteer groups who work the day long clean up effort, the day is a learning experience.

Kathy Peyton and five members of the Henry County Girl's Golf team participated in last year's Clean Sweep.

"It really was kind of a neat thing," she said. "You wouldn't believe some of the stuff that we found. It was a really good experience from the girls. It probably taught them not to toss trash out the window. Somebody has got to pick that up."

The team cleaned up about eight miles of road last year and picked up 25-30 bags of trash in about five hours. The team will be out again this year picking up litter again.

"Really, It does make the road look better," she said.

Brent said the county provides to the teams vests, gloves and trash bags, all of which are paid for through the litter grant.

The most littered roads in the county, he said, are located near fast food restaurants or are main roads, such as KY-55 between New Castle and Eminence. "Kentucky 146 from Pendleton to New Castle is a really rough road," he said, noting that that road is reserved for county crews because "it's kind of dangerous."

In 2006, volunteer crews picked up an average of 15 bags of trash per mile, and filled one 40-yard dumpster. The 8-foot deep dumpster wasn't big enough, and this year, the county will rent two of the monster bins.

Brent said the event is an important one not just because of the beautification effort.

"It also raises awareness," he said. "Just that we have a beautiful county, and hopefully, in time, more and more people will become respectful of our county and take their trash home with them."

He hopes too that those volunteers who help to clean up the roadways aren't discouraged that year after year, there's still more trash to pick up.

"For those citizens who are out there doing the right thing in taking care of our county, I don't want them to get discouraged when they see litter," he said. "It's gotten a whole lot better."

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