Volunteers remove 100 tires from Little Coal River

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Volunteers removed 103 tires and 30 bags of trash from the Little Coal River Saturday in just two and a half hours.

The Trash your Kayak group organized the cleanup after not being able to do many this year due to the pandemic.

“We got tired of seeing tires and trash in the river and decided to do something about it,” said Michelle Martin, the co-founder of Trash your Kayak, a Facebook group dedicated to river cleanups.

“We got tired of seeing tires and trash in the river and decided to do something about it,”

Michelle Martin, Trash Your Kayak

The volunteers only went a mile up the river.

They say for decades, dumping tires in rivers has been a quick fix for West Virginians to dispose of their tires and they’re trying to change that.

Because the Little Coal River was low Saturday afternoon, they couldn’t use motorized boats to pull them up the river but they were more visible.

“The guys and girls are getting tired from fighting the current and dealing with a boatload of tires,” said Randy Jones, a volunteer with Trash Your Kayak.

Some of those tires said Jones, are 50 to 60 years old and heavy.

“Tire dealers, they take them out and dump them that’s what they do, and they just end up in there,” he said.

Tires weren’t the only thing they found, the volunteers also retrieved lots of metal debris and plastic children’s toys.

Youth with the Boone County Career Center were also there to give a hand.

Youth with the Boone County Career Center volunteering at the Little Coal River.

Martin and Jones say West Virginians need to take better care of the free resource residents have.

“My hope is to get everybody to bring one bag of trash — one bag and picking up a bag of trash — taking 10 minutes out of your float, every time you float,” said Martin.

The tires were taken to the REAP center to be recycled.

This was the group’s last cleanup for the year but they say they want to come back next year and do more cleanups.

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