Local News

Group proposed to clear trash from Cape Fear River

Posted August 14, 2008 6:09 p.m. EDT
Updated August 14, 2008 11:10 p.m. EDT

— A city councilman is calling for creation of an organization to clear mounds of litter from the Cape Fear River.

Cups, plastic bottles, tennis balls and aerosol cans routinely find their way into the river and lie along its banks. Councilman Bobby Hurst said much of the trash can be traced back to Cross Creek and other tributaries and eventually back to the streets of Fayetteville.

"When we have a downpour, where does (the street trash) go? (It goes) down the storm drains and into our creeks and out, eventually, into the river," said Hurst, who also is the founder of Fayetteville Beautiful.

That group focuses on ridding Fayetteville streets of litter, but he said cleaning up the river is trickier because the banks are steep and the current is strong.

The issue goes beyond aesthetics, Hurst said.

"Fifteen percent of our water for our city is from the river," he said.

Sometimes the litter is so bad on the river, it creates a boating hazard, he said.

"Unfortunately, a boater friend of mine mentioned he has seen some of the boaters littering,” Hurst said.

The Public Works Commission, which operates Fayetteville's utilities, has a yearly volunteer clean-up of some creeks in the community, but there’s no organized effort to pick up litter along the river.

Hurst said he plans to look into launching a program similar to the Neuse River Foundation in the Triangle, which stages an annual clean-up of the Neuse River. He wants it clear the Cape Fear River between N.C. Highway 24 and the Bladen County line.

John Rose, who owns a bait shop at Campbellton Landing, said he would welcome it.

“It upsets me when I see trash on the water,” Rose said. “When you live in North Carolina, you ought to keep North Carolina clean.”