Littering is becoming an issue in Blades' woods and stream

By Lynn R. Parks

Property on the west side of Anchor Enterprises in Blades is frequently visited by wildlife. Mike Marine, product manager at the metal fabrication shop, said that he regularly sees foxes and deer in the small patch of woods and hawks and eagles flying over.
The woods border the Nanticoke River and a small stream that cuts through the trees empties into the river.
People also visit the forest, to use a path that crosses the stream and leads to the railroad tracks that run north-south through western Sussex County. The human visitors walk north on the tracks to the bridge that crosses the Nanticoke; from there, they can fish or they can continue their walk on into downtown Seaford.
And too often, Marine says, they leave trails of trash in their wake. The woods are full of plastic bottles and beer bottles, and well as drug paraphernalia: crack bags and syringes,' he said. It's been going on for years; there's litter everywhere.' Last Friday, when Marine walked into the woods, he discovered that someone had dumped dirty oil in the stream. The oil was making its way north, toward the Nanticoke.

Marine contacted the town of Blades, which owns the property. He also contacted the state's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, which sent an environmental scientist to investigate. According to a report filed by the DNREC officer, about two gallons of motor oil had been poured into the stream. The office stopped the flow of oil toward the river with a boom': a tube of absorbent material encased in white plastic.
Over three days, employees with DNREC, as well as the Blades code officer, Marcus Trammell, picked up trash in the woods. A week after Marine saw the spill, the stream had several booms in it, as well as sheets of absorbent white foam matting. While there was a plastic bottle here and a grocery bag there, the woods were fairly clean of trash.
Vikki Prettyman is town administrator for Blades. On Monday, she said that the town is considering putting up signs near the woods, reminding people that it is illegal to dump trash. We are trying to decide the best route,' she said.
Marine said that it seems to him that the amount of trash dumped in the woods is increasing. I want to bring awareness about the importance of keeping places clean,' he said. We have to be respectful of our surroundings. It's really a shame that people don't want to keep these woods looking nice.'

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