PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — Commissioners in Mercer County are trying to crack down on a littering problem. County Commissioner Greg Puckett said trash is one of the first things you see entering the county and the last thing you see leaving.

Puckett said the county has a problem with littering, and it is overflowing onto the highways. He said a popular exit in the area continues to be a trouble spot.

“Exit 14 has, for the last couple three months, has been a chronic problem for trash. And it happens all the time because it’s a heavy exit on off, there’s a little pull over spot right there. Trash wise, it can get pretty hairy. I’ll show you, that’s kind of what it looked like,” said Puckett.

He said with all of the trash, the wrong message is being sent.

“The first thing you see is the big sign that says wild and wonderful West Virginia. And we don’t want to be wild and trashy West Virginia, we want to make it something that’s really a moniker of what we should be,” said Puckett.

Puckett said heavy traffic flow and bad weather are obstacles crews continue to fight to clean up the area. The repercussions of all the trash adds up, too.

“Number one it’s tourism because we want to have that image of people coming and going out of West Virginia, and getting a much better, positive result of that. So when they leave, they come back and think favorably of us. And the other thing, it’s a health related concern. I mean if you’ve got that much trash that’s piling up. What people don’t understand is that when you create a highway of that magnitude and you have that much trash, there’s only one place for it to go and that’s in your streams and creeks and valleys, and so on. And when you have major flood events, big weather events like we’ve had, it picks all the trash up and it carries it to areas where we can’t get to it,” said Puckett.

Puckett said I-77 and exit 14 are not the only areas littered with trash. He said the WV Parkways Authority will continue to monitor the trash and clean up any areas as needed.