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Where litter is causing concern for drivers and businesses

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HOPEWELL, Va. -- A realtor is one of several people sounding the alarm about a disturbing trend she says is making Central Virginia "look disgusting."

Hopewell realtor Susan Harrison spends a lot of time in her car traveling across Central Virginia and believes the litter problem is getting worse.

She was surprised when two of clients mentioned the problem earlier this year.

"I had two sets of clients since Christmas, one from Chicago and one from Tampa," she said. "Both pretty much asked me, 'Has this area always been this trashy?'" she said. "And it's embarrassing."

WTVR CBS 6 Senior Reporter and Hopewell realtor Susan Harrison

WTVR CBS 6 Senior Reporter and Hopewell realtor Susan Harrison

And she isn't alone. Robb Eldredge travels from Richmond to Prince George County and said he spots people throwing trash from their windows everyday on his drive to work.

In fact, litter is such a problem outside Commonwealth Power Sports,  Eldredge relies on his employees to help pick it up.

"We have to clean the parking lot everyday," he said. "We have to pick up trash alongside the road, it's just unsightly. It's extra work for us everyday when we get here."

Litter can also be seen in Colonial Heights along Temple Avenue and Puddledock to Route 10 near the Chesterfield-Hopewell line.

Both Colonial Heights and Hopewell have clean up days scheduled in April. Hopewell's initiative is expected to last about a week.

"We have a major clean up we're doing from April 2 to April 10," Hopewell Assistant City Manager Charles Dane said.

Dane said that because of the city's year-long centennial celebration, letters have been sent to hundreds of churches, civic groups, businesses and neighborhoods.

"We're trying to enlist everybody to do a major clean up, " he said. "We're bringing in large dumpsters, putting them in several locations around the city to make their disposal of what they pick up easier."

Additionally, Colonial Heights will hold a clean up day on April 30.

Officials with Keep Virginia Beautiful said Richmond will see a campaign focusing on cigarette butts.

"Even though it's a small piece of litter, it's the number one form of litter," Keep Virginia Beautiful Executive Director Mike Baum said.  "We're trying to change people's behavior to show that butt is not going to go away."

Baum said many cities and counties are planning clean up days on April 22 and 23 as part of Earth Day. Click here for more information on a campaign in your area.