By Kaylee Lindenmuth
CENTRALIA, Columbia County - Tires, cinderblocks, a couch, and other items of abandoned trash were cleaned up by nearly 100 volunteers in Centralia borough and Conyngham Township Saturday afternoon, for the 5th annual Centralia Clean-Up.
Hosted by the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), the event focused on cleaning up the borough and the surrounding area, which has become a haven for dumpers in recent years.
"Sad to say, we're taking out about the same amount of trash that we've taken out each year," said Bobby Hughes, executive director for EPCAMR.
Three dumpsters were set up around the borough, on Railroad Avenue, Laurel Street, and at Odd Fellows Cemetery, and refreshments were available at the Centralia Municipal Building on Locust Avenue.
"Last year, we only had two dumpsters, this year we have three, and we're almost filling three of them, so that's probably an average of eight tons a dumpster," said Hughes. "It could be 20 tons by the time we're done, and then we've got tires -- there might be 50 tires or 60 tires when it's all said and done."
"We've made a big dent in the last few years, which is good," Hughes added.
Hughes added that, among the roughly 100 volunteers were former residents, college students from Wilkes University, and others from as far as New Jersey, Lancaster, and Canada, as well as local concerned residents.
"Most other people, I think, are just people that are interested that came through Facebook and social media outlets," Hughes said.
Hughes added that the group is seeking permission from the Commonwealth to install security cameras in "hotspots" in the borough to catch dumpers in the act.
"Some people still live here, and people come visit their loved ones in the cemeteries. They shouldn't have to come by through trash and everything," said Hughes.
Throughout the day, volunteers focused on cleaning up problem areas in the borough, including Railroad Avenue, Laurel Street, near Odd Fellows Cemetery, Graffiti Highway, and Big Mine Run Road.
Volunteers worked from 8:00am to 3:00pm during the event.