Saturday, September 17, 2011

09/17/2011 - Dog River Zone Coastal Cleanup

Launch: Home
Launch Cost: Free
Destination: Dog River Park Zone for the Coastal Cleanup held from 8:00 am to Noon.
Distance: 6-1/2 miles (round trip)
Paddle time: 2 hours
Weather: Temp 70-80 degrees, Winds 0-5 mph out of the northeast. Partly Cloudy. Tide falling. Current negligible. It was a beautiful day out!

Header Image is a photo of some of the canoes that were rented for use in the cleanup.

On the way to Dog River Park - the sun which shined briefly soon disappeared behind a cloud bank.

A huge heron hunting for marine cuisine.

After sign in and receiving about a dozen garbage bags and a grabber, I paddled off to a heavily littered property. There was a lot of people cleaning this area that had received little attention in past cleanups. It looks much better now. Spent about 2-1/2 hours cleaning 250 feet of shoreline that looked like this. As I was leaving, the man who owned the property asked what was going on and I told him the Coastal Cleanup. "Oh, I didn't know that was going on this weekend." He then got in his sail boat and took off. Why can't property owners clean their own freaking property? There ought be a law... I also cleaned trash off two other properties in the remaining 1-1/2 hour (about another 100 feet of shoreline). At this rate, it would take 20 days to clean a mile of shoreline. Styrofoam dominated the trash along with food wrappers. I picked up 29 lighters and 382 plastic bottles (actual count).

The Dog River Zone volunteers filled up the city trash truck and there was still trash in several other piles by the boat ramps. Zone captain Duggan Ellis, on the right of the trailer, did a wonderful organizational job. I saw more volunteers today than I've ever seen and plenty of trash was removed.

Of course, with about 125 miles of shoreline in the Dog River watershed and limited number of volunteers, some property didn't get picked up, like Dwight Graham's shore which is littered with tires and trash.

Even Kenneth McElhaney Jr and Erica McElhaney's shore was untouched. Beautiful eh? This crap will be there until next year, if it even gets cleaned up then.

What is sad is all the volunteers spent time treating the symptom of pitiful enforcement of existing laws and apathetic people and businesses. Saw this while driving home today and I did not open any fence gates to get these photos. Trash was visible from the street which is why I pulled over to take photos. Here is Dollar General (2158 Dauphin Island Pkwy), today after the coastal cleanup. Trash by the dumpster, loose trash in the dumpster, lid not closed, and loose bottles and trash on the ground. And people wonder where all the trash comes from? 

I'm documenting sources here. Rain picks up floating trash from careless businesses and away it goes down stream, and where it goes, nobody knows (except for river residents and coastal cleanup volunteers).

Here is O'Reilly's Auto Parts store (2862 Dauphin Island Pkwy). Open dumpster lids, loose trash on the ground, gate not closed, gap under fence. 

Next rain, plastic bottles on the ground here will become ships on the Sea of Storm-Water-Runoff destined to run aground on someone's riverside property. Dollar General and O'Reilly's Auto Parts are two generators of the endless trash that plagues Dog River. They are just the tip of the trashberg.
Do you want to get pro-active to help stop scenes like this? Want to help stop the illegal litter at the source? Take photos to document the evidence. Go to the City of Mobile GIS web site to acquire owner information on the property that is littering our environment. Write, Call, or Visit in person with the store manager to share your disgust of their loose litter. Don't shop at businesses that do not care about the environment. Pace back in forth in front of their business with a sign that says, "'O'Reilly's trashes our environment!" or "Dollar General pollutes our waterway!" That will get their attention. Hehehe. You CAN make a difference!

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