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The great American clean-up, Part 2: Illegal dumping continues in Centralia

October 2017

On 21 October 2017, EPCAMR (Eastern PA Coalition of Abandoned Mine Reclamation) organized another successful community clean-up in Centralia, Pennsylvania’s Lost Town.

Since May 2014, EPCAMR (Eastern PA Coalition of Abandoned Mine Reclamation) has been organizing annual community clean-ups in Centralia, a borough in the heart of Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region.

Although the borough is virtually abandoned, the borough has become somewhat of a tourist attraction due to the coal mine fire that led to its decline. As well, two busy state road run through it, so Centralia is far from deserted.

Some of those vehicles traveling through the borough slip down the deserted former residential streets and dump their garbage, everything from household waste to furniture, to construction waste to old tires.  Over time, this illegal dumping amounts to significant amount of garbage.

A total of 93 volunteers from a wide age-range gathered at the Centralia Municipal Building along Locust Avenue at 9am to register and gather gloves and garbage bags.  Numerous pick-up trucks and some SUVs with trailers lined the Locust Avenue to collect the garbage and haul it to two industrial garbage bins which quickly began to fill up.

By the end of the day, 8.3 Tons of trash and approximately 52 tires had been collected from two acres of the borough.

Sadly, the illegal dumping continues and some may even think EPCAMR is fighting a losing battle, especially given that limited resources make it hard to collect all the trash in borough or to have more frequent clean-ups. However this is no reason not to do something and without the efforts put forth by EPCAMR and the numerous volunteers, the problem would quickly get out of control. Every little bit helps.

One thing that certainly could help is the placement of cameras throughout the borough to catch illegal dumping. This still wouldn’t be a perfect solution, but the threat of public shaming through social media and/or the possibility of charges would discourage many.

If there are any organizations that wish to donate high resolution cameras, perhaps with motion sensor activation, I’m sure many would volunteer to install and maintain them.

Although EPCAMR and other corporations usually donate supplies and two industrial garbage bins, donations are always appreciated and help off-set the cost of food, drinks, water, tools, heavy duty garbage bags, gloves, cleanup supplies, hand sanitizer, first aid kits, refreshments, snacks for the volunteers and EPCAMR staff in attendance and haulage and landfill tipping fees.

Donations for this or future clean-ups can be made on-line at www.givegab.com/nonprofits/eastern-pa-coalition-for-abandoned-mine-reclamation/campaigns/clean-up-centralia-for-centralians-past-present or to:

EPCAMR
c/o Robert Hughes, Clean-Up Event
101 S. Main St.
Ashley, PA 18706

This was my sixth trip to Centralia and my second time participating in a clean-up and I plan to return in the future.

 

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: http://militarybruce.com/the-great-american-clean-up-part-2-illegal-dumping-continues-in-centralia/

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