Visitors call Forest Hill Park trash island a ‘terrible eyesore’

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — An island of aluminum cans and plastic wrappers is piling up in the pond at Forest Hill Park. Visitors are calling it an eyesore and asking what can be done to keep the mess from growing.

Kim Janott is a regular at the historic park, bringing her dog along for walks year-round. Despite regular cleanup efforts, she says the trash island keeps coming back.

“It’s pretty ongoing, constant,” Janott told 8News. “There’s no reason for it.”

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The pond is part of Reedy Creek, which flows into the James River. Water from the surrounding roadways and neighborhoods flows into the creek and carries the trash along with it.

“It’s often from people littering from their cars or trash cans that aren’t secure making its way into the water system,” said Amy Robins, co-founder of nonprofit RVA Clean Sweep. The group helps neighbors along with neighborhood and businesses associations establish monthly litter cleanups.

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It is unlawful under Richmond city code to throw trash onto sidewalks, waterways or open areas. The problem is, it’s nearly impossible to catch and prosecute people in the act.

Richmond police have a total of ten reports of littering for all of 2016.

Last summer, volunteers with nonprofit RVA Clean Sweep pulled on waders and used kayaks to pull trash from the mound, filling more than three dozen bags with litter.

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“They have a hard time grasping why their park is constantly filling up with trash,” Robins said.

Reaching the trash island is made more difficult in the cold weather, so the project will have to wait until spring. With limited ability to enforce city code, Robins encourages residents to take responsibility for their waste and be on the lookout for trash on the ground.

“If you see a piece of litter you should pick it up, because ultimately it will make it into our waterway,” said Robins.

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RVA Clean Sweep is also reminding residents and business owners to keep trash cans shut tightly. If you are looking for a way to help fight the trash problem, click here.

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