Normally after a bucket of trash, I feel good, happy. After 15 buckets of recycling and a bag of trash at Pony Pasture, plus bucket and full bag of recycling at Main Area West, I’m just sad. I try to clean a spot of the river once a week, but was able to put a couple of hours in […]
I try to clean a spot of the river once a week, but was able to put a couple of hours in Thursday evening. This was the post-July 4th holiday trash left all along the shoreline at Pony Pasture, and it was pretty disappointing to see so much left over.
I cleared the pothole at Pony Pasture that I had found full of trash when I visited on Wednesday. It was disgusting, with chicken bones, Styrofoam food containers, beer bottles and cans, etc. Even worse, a second pothole on the same rock was full of trash. It was clean on Wednesday. So sad, and in plain view of almost every person that is heading out to the rest of the rocks.
It was a virtual “Lost Flip-Flop & Smelly Wet Sock” convention. I decided early on to leave all the flip-flops, shoes and socks I found because I had no way knowing if the people were still there. I’d say at least 40 footwear items total, maybe a dozen were a pair.
Honestly, no trash is worse than diapers. They are so heavy when they’ve soaked their fill of river water. I found seven of them, one had burst and all the filling was coming out.
In all, I’d estimate about 50 glass bottles and at least double that in beer cans. Probably another 60 soda and water bottles and cans. I filled one of the recycling bins, which was mostly empty before I began.
At Main Area West, I was doing well, filling just the bucket with recycling until I hit a massive trash mess. It was a good thing I brought a trash bag. I completely filled it with about 100 bottles and cans, which created the big problem of getting it back up the hill. The trash bag almost filled the empty recycling bin on at the trailhead on Riverside Drive.
One good note, I saw no signs of Whippet Guy — no CO2 cartridges anywhere. One bad note, I accidentally poured beer all over what I think was a small copperhead hiding under a rock. He stayed calm and didn’t move as the beer dripped down through the crack. Party on reptile!
My point of writing about this isn’t to garner praise for volunteering at the river. There are plenty of people that clean trash and do whatever it takes to make the James River Park fantastic, I’m certainly not the only one and we can always use more help.
I want people to be aware of how much work we have ahead of us to educate the naughty park-goers. Also, imagine how much work the James River Park staff has to dedicate to basic maintenance and trash collection in the peak summer months, treading water with unfortunate disrespectful behaviour like this rather than doing real work that helps improve the river, the park and our city.