‘Sweep the Hooch’ to clean Chattahoochee
by Alison Jibilian
MDJ Intern
April 08, 2013 12:00 AM | 2068 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
More than 600 volunteers are expected to take part in the annual “Sweep the Hooch” river cleanup effort April 13. The volunteers will descend on the Chattahoochee River to remove everything from plastic bottles and fast-food containers to tires and other trash.

Last year, the event pulled 4 tons of trash out of the Chattahoochee.

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is working to remove trash cans at all but four of 17 locations along the river as part of a cost-saving measure.

The four locations to keep their trash cans are Abbotts Bridge, Powers Island, Paces Mill, and the fitness loop trail at Cochran Shoals.

“We will continue collecting trash at receptacles at our busiest locations,” said Patty Wissinger, CRNRA superintendent.

“But there are a lot of trash cans in the park that are time-consuming to empty because they are far apart and not as frequently used.”

In the future, visitors to these locations will be expected to bring their own bags and pick up their trash before leaving.

Not all visitors may follow these guidelines, and as a result, more garbage could find its way into the river.

Wissinger believes that most park visitors do not litter.

“The vast majority of people — who are responsible citizens — will carry their trash until they can properly dispose of it,” Wissinger said.

She said CRNRA is “confident that our visitors, who are overwhelmingly local, will be no different than other National Park visitors all around the country — and perhaps even surpass them as they care for the park in their own back yard and keep the resource clean.”

Wissinger added that trash cans are “quite labor intensive, and reducing them will increase the efficiency of park operations.”

She also said that by eliminating extraneous trash cans, “We save significant labor costs.”

By removing 134 trash cans at 13 locations, the park is expected to save up to $76,000 between April 1 and Oct. 1.

“Because of sequestration and the removal of trash cans from the park, Sweep the Hooch is more important than ever this year,” said David Lee Simmons, communications director for the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Foundation, which co-sponsors the annual cleanup event.
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