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‘Just please don’t litter’: Volunteers clean up notorious Aiken County road

Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 6:34 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Edgefield Highway is known to be a busy road but the corner of Sassafras Road, near Reynolds Pond Road near Aiken, is known to look like this: littered with trash.

For years, it’s been the site of illegal dumping, but now groups across the county are saying enough is enough.

Now volunteers say it’s never been this spotless.

Just a few days ago, the road was filled with over 1,000 pounds of trash. People that live here are happy someone stepped in to help clean up.

“We put in a huge effort. Everyone worked really hard and we were able to clean up all the litter on this section behind me on sassafras,” said Jay Noonkester, board member of Keep Aiken County Beautiful.

Keep Aiken County Beautiful and several community volunteers cleaned up the sight for sore eyes

“It’s always been an issue because it’s been so much trash like this. What we cleaned up was almost 10 years’ worth of trash,” said Erin Wright, who lives near Sassafras Road.

Wright has lived near sassafras all her life. She compares the road to a landfill.

“It was a lot of like, electronics, there was a mattress, flat irons, we found like four dead dogs. The things that we found was really -- it wasn’t typical,” Wright said. “I know no litter is good litter but it’s just things that you wouldn’t expect people to willingly throw out, they were almost using this road as like a dumpsite, it was awful.”

The road is a top hotspot area on the organizations to-clean list

“There’s a lot, a lot of issues in Aiken County, and we’re taking them one at a time,” Noonkester said.

“It’s good they finally got this taken care of because it looked kind of rough out here,” said Leshawn Miles, another resident near Sassafras Road.

Now that it’s finally clean, they want to keep it that way.

“We’re going to install some cameras, motion sensor lights, and we’re going to increase the enforcement. So hopefully this will be a start for the community that keeps this section clean,” Noonkester said.

Code enforcement officers will survey the area and ticket anyone caught littering.

“Please do not litter, a small piece is a big piece, it adds up -- is all ugly. So just, please don’t litter,” Wright said.

And they won’t stop at Sassafras Road, Keep Aiken County Beautiful has a list of hotspot target areas they plan to tackle next.

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