Mobile County

Dog River gets trashed after rainstorms

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) - Residents along Dog River are frustrated with an ongoing litter issue. 

They tell News 5  they see a steady stream of trash every time there's a heavy rainstorm, which for the rainiest city in America- that's often. 

At 2:03 pm Thursday, it started raining. "Here we go again," said Debi Foster, Executive Director of Dog River Clear Water Revival. 

Those living on or around the river know there's the potential of waking up to what looks like a field of trash the next day. This typically happens after hurricanes, tropical storms, or just a heavy rain following a dry period. 

“This is something that’s going to continue to happen with every afternoon thunderstorm until we can get our hands wrapped around the litter problem," said Foster. 

Cell phone video shot Wednesday by Hugh O'Neill, a resident living along Dog River, shows plastic among other debris floating down what residents call, "the people's river."

“There was a lot of it," said Floyd Fraser, another man who lives on waterfront property. “This is the first bad episode we’ve seen since the strainer went in.”

Fraser tells News 5 he hasn't seen it this polluted since 2013. 

Although conditions were better Thursday, you didn't need 20-20 vision to see random pieces of plastic sprinkled along the waterway. 

News 5 contacted the City of Mobile to see if it has plans to change its current litter-fighting programs in place. 

Based on our conversations, it doesn't seem like it plans to try new initiatives any time soon. 

It cleaned out its litter containment device Thursday. However, trash was still left behind, including plastic bottles and even a bike tire.

The city says it has no current plans to add more containment devices. The current one it has just covers one of five tributaries leading into Dog River.

It also says it's focusing on prevention by holding 'Litter Task Force' meetings once every three months and having a 'litter boat' collect litter several times a week in the area of Dog River.

It also writes about 25 tickets for littering a week. A city representative tells News 5 it encourages anyone who sees an act of littering to report it.  

Foster tells us she's been working on cleaning up the river for nearly three decades. “I would like to see before I die, it not look like this.”


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