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Green Up Day volunteers outraged over what they found - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Green Up Day volunteers outraged over what they found

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Mary Mauger and her kids walk through this busy intersection in Essex almost every day. She couldn't believe what she saw Monday morning.

"Oh my goodness! That didn't all look like it all came from Green Up unfortunately," said Mauger.

There were dozens of old tires, broken furniture and even couches thrown all over the grass at the intersection of Route 289 and Susie Wilson Road.

"Maybe people don't really know what the day is for. Maybe more needs to go out so it's not just a free day to clean out your junk, it's really more about keeping Vermont beautiful and keeping our community beautiful," said Ally Vile, the director of Essex Parks and Recreation.

The intersection is all picked up now. Vile says that town crews did the extra work.

"Someone has to take responsibility, unfortunately people are just passing the buck," said Vile.

"It looked like there were at least a dozen tires over there and I know you have to pay for that at the dump. So I'm hoping that's not why people ditched 'em," said Mauger.

Mauger has lived in Essex her whole life and volunteered as a kid.

"I can remember being a Girl Scout. We'd clean up all the cigarettes butts and everything for Green Up Day, every year we used to do it," said Mauger.

The memory still brings a smile to her face. Unfortunately, these days, volunteers are picking up more than cigarette butts.

"Unfortunately one of the detractors from the celebration of the day was the fact that used syringes or hypodermic needles were found lying in different neighborhoods of our city and needed to be picked up and properly disposed of by our police officers," said Sgt. John Sly of the Rutland Police Department.

It happened in Rutland and other parts of Vermont, like Brandon.

"Our Green Up Day in Brandon was the worst yet. I can't even count the packages of Suboxone we picked up on Arnold District Road along with needles," said Emily Fleury, a volunteer.

"I think that the Green Up Day celebration actually enhances our community public safety because rather than a child or young person going out and finding these things laying on the ground, responsible adults and support crews are out there cleaning up neighborhoods, our community, to make sure syringes and other dangerous items are not just left there to be found by anyone," said Sly.

Vile says that she worries about the future of Green Up Day but officials with the program says its key to keeping nearly 16,000 miles of Vermont roads litter-free.

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