Unemployed man picks up trash in Charleston

Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 12:09 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - While many are spending the pandemic fixing up their homes and catching up on Netflix, one Charleston resident is trying to make a change.

Ron Williams spends his time picking up trash around Charleston. This is a habit he first started 13 years ago. That’s when he was diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), an autoimmune disease that affects his nerves.

He says the constant walking helps with the pain.

In the past it has been a way for him to pass the time and alleviate his pain. But when the COVID-19 pandemic happened in March, Williams started collecting unemployment. He says this gave him more time to pick up trash.

“I cannot sit on a couch knowing I’m making money for nothing and so that’s another motivation for me to get out six to eight hours a day,” Williams said.

He walks all around Charleston’s West Side, East End, and he goes under the I-64 exit ramp. That’s an area that he says has a lot of litter.

During his travels around the capital city, he has collected hammocks, coats and a lot of spare change. He says he finds at least 36 cents a day and, if he counted his stash, he would have hundreds of dollars. He puts the money he finds in his daughter’s piggy bank.

Williams has been in Charleston since 1988, after he relocated from Australia. He says he loves the city and the state of West Virginia dearly; he just wants more people to chip in and keep it clean.

“Trash is just not necessary be on the ground, it just shows disrespect for the environment in the city, and for the people who live here,” Williams said. “It’s not that difficult to keep stuff in your car and put in the trash can.”

Williams says he is working on getting the homeless and those in need involved with picking up trash.

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