LET'S DO THIS
What: Roadside litter cleanup
Where: Route 6, Hawley to Honesdale
When: April 20 (raindate April 27, 9 a.m.- noon)
How: Volunteer labor & passion
Info: www.facebook.com/events/304379453585653/

HAWLEY - A band of volunteers passionate about keeping our highways and byways clean of garbage and litter, plan to take on a 10 mile stretch of Route 6 from, Hawley to Honesdale, in April.

Michael J. Coppola is leading the “Hawley to Honesdale 10-Mile Clean Sweep” on Saturday morning, April 20. The rain date is April 27.

This is the time of year many different groups will be out, whether part of the PennDOT Great American Cleanup campaign, or municipal roadside cleanups. Some are combined teams of family, friends and neighbors; employees from a business; members of a nonprofit organization or church, a family or gathering of friends.

While some of the public carelessly and thoughtlessly scatters the rubbish and scrap throughout the year (or litter distributed by accident), others don gloves and safety vests, roll up their sleeves and pick it up. The sight of bulging bags of trash along the roadsides on the day after, awaiting pickup, are testament of their efforts and concern.

Started two years ago

Coppola is an English teacher at East Stroudsburg North High School. He started the annual cleanup two years ago, in April 2017, hoping for a few volunteers. Nobody showed up, so he did a two mile stretch of Route 6 near the D&H Canal Park at Lock 31, by himself.

In 2018 he tried harder to enlist help, and rallied about 25 volunteers to tackle a five mile stretch, from The Settlers Inn at Hawley, to Wayne County Ford, in Indian Orchard. They divided into four groups to tackle a little over a mile each. He said they collected almost 200 bags of garbage along with hundreds of pounds of larger, loose debris.

The plan for 2019 is to cover 10 miles of Route 6, starting at Lake Region IGA market east of Hawley, to Dave’s Super Duper market in Honesdale.

Section leaders

Over the past six months Coppola recruited four area residents, Jason Merrill, Jeremy Watson, Dan Barnes and Jenna Mauder, as team leaders each responsible for their own two mile section.

Each leader will be organizing his or her group of volunteers in their own way, but they will all be emphasizing the same safety and proper trash collection procedures, Coppola stated. He said they are hoping for 10 or more volunteers per group, twice as many as last year.

“Our Facebook event has been shared to reach over 2000 views, so we are excited with the prospect of having many more volunteers to come out and help us,” Coppola said.

PennDOT supplies work gloves, reflective vests and trash bags. Volunteers are advised to wear bright colored clothing, pants, comfortable shoes or sneakers, and hats. Bringing bottled water and insect repellant are also recommended.

Hawley Borough Police and Honesdale Borough Police, as well as PA State Police, are being asked to provide a presence to help keep motorists in check along the route.

How to help

For safety reasons, any younger teen volunteers (under the age of 18) or families with children will be designated by group leaders to focus on areas off the main highway such as Bingham Park, the Canal Park, White Mills sports field and Central Park, or the sidewalks in Hawley and Honesdale.

Community members may meet the group to offer their help, at 9 a.m., at any of the five locations: Hawley Antique Exchange; D&H Canal Park at Lock 31; Watson Brothers Garage in White Mills; PennDOT- Wayne County (across from Wayne County Ford) and Domino’s Pizza/Sherwin Williams.

The cleanup will run till about noon.

“Besides physically cleaning the roads and beautifying other peripheral areas, our group's main goal is to get more community awareness and independent participation in keeping our area beautiful throughout the year,” Coppola said. “People need to know that they don't need to wait for someone to organize an event; they can each do their own part on a smaller scale, and together we can all have a large impact!”

Coppola said they are also working out plans for a proposed “Earth Day Weekend” celebration to immediately follow the cleanup, with food and live music.

[MORE TO THIS STORY WILL BE FOUND IN WEDNESDAY’S NEWSPAPER.]

To learn more:

For more information visit their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/304379453585653/ .
Learn more about PennDOT’s Great American Cleanup of PA:
https://gacofpa.org