Dedicated workers helping cleanup succeed

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 14, 2005

If you haven’t been out to the north city landing I would highly suggest you take the time to head over and check out the pile of waste that has been removed from the river. Too many people to name have been working their hindquarters off as part of the Renew Our Rivers campaign and their efforts are evident through the size of the pile they have collected.

These people deserve a huge pat on the back and all the praise that can be bestowed upon them because they are taking a problem and doing something about it. Some of the items that have been collected were thought to have been in their location for almost 20 years. I don’t care what kind of math you use that is a long time for an object to be an eyesore. Luckily, how long the items have been dumped is no longer an issue because they have now found their proper resting places.

If you haven’t been out to the landing you may be surprised at what you find. Two boats, and I don’t mean toy boats, were among the pile. Two entire boats! It was hard for me to believe that someone had abandoned two boats without any attempt to salvage or scrap them, but that is exactly what happened. Other items included washing machines, refrigerators, shopping carts and anything you can imagine.

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Among the oddities were a mannequin head, shoulder pads and optometry equipment. It seems hard to believe, but I have seen this with my own eyes.

Luckily, it only takes a few motivated people to undo the damage of many slackers. Actually, to say they are dedicated is an understatement. In one case, Mark Pettus practically dove into the river to bring in an old washing machine. Sure, it wasn’t his initial intention to dive in but in the end the machine was in the boat and off the bank and that is what really matters (Sorry Mark, this was too good not to mention).

Many others braved the thick brush and briars to pull rubbish from the water. If you ran into Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson yesterday you probably noticed a few battle scars on her arms. What you probably didn’t notice were complaints. That’s because there were none. Williamson, like everyone else helping out were willing to get wet feet and scratches to help out.

While most of the news from the cleanup is positive the fact that is was necessary is a negative. The variety of equipment shows that several people have been using the river as their personal dumping grounds for a long, long time.

Some of the items pulled from the river were humorous, but others were just plain disturbing. Several bottles of motor oil and other dangerous fluids were pulled. Car batteries and liquor bottles were among the many other items found. These items are terrible for the wildlife and the state of the river. There is no excuse for putting these items in an environment where they can cause such a high level of damage when preventing it is as simple as walking to a garbage can. Honestly, how hard is it to just walk to a trash recepticle and drop an item in? Dumping it in the river probably takes 100 times more effort.

The people who created this problem in the first place should be ashamed of themselves. They have shown a disrespect for the rivers, the property owners and the City of Demopolis. Through the years the lazy have had their say. They have dumped their trash on the river and thrown their liquor bottles and other items in for amusement. Their time has passed.

There is a new philosophy in Demopolis and it is one of positive change. Dumping trash in the river will not be tolerated in the future. I highly recommend anyone who considers using the Demopolis river system as a landfill to move on because I would not want to be in your shoes if the people who are spending the entire week cleaning up were to find out you were undoing their hard work.