Keeping the Alapaha River Clean - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Keeping the Alapaha River Clean

March 18, 2006

Tift County--Nature enthusiasts are fighting to keep the Alapaha River clean. Rather than a place to go fishing or swimming, the group called the River Rats, say the Alapaha is gradually turning into a landfill.

We first introduced you, the viewers, to the River Rats about two months ago. The twenty member group is determined to keep the river clean.

And since their story first aired, other South Georgians want to help them do just that.

The Alapaha River appears flawless, but look closer, looks can be deceiving. "I'm pretty surprised. I didn't expect there to be as much trash as there is," says cub scout, John Burtle.

Burtle and fellow cub scouts work closely with the River Rats, bagging up the trash polluters leave behind.

"They're not supposed to be littering down here. It's just not right," says Burtle.

"Good for nothing, no good people," says cub scout, Reed Bennett. From beer bottles to ceiling tile, for Bennett, the trash along the river's bank seems endless.

"They don't want to put it in their vehicle and wait until they get to a stop to throw it away," says Reed.

Nearby, these nature enthusiasts discover something more disturbing, a deer jawbone, and a dead, decaying dog near the river's bank.

"I think I'm going to puke, throwing in dead animals. I just do not like it," says Reed.

"I think they're bad people," says Burtle.

Not only are people throwing trash out into the river, but they're also defacing the river's bridge with graffiti.

"They went through a lot of trouble to write a lot of no-good-not-mean anything stuff on the bridge," says River Rats member, Sue Baker.

With 28 bags of trash collected, River Rats member, Baker is determined to keep the Alapaha clean.

"This is not a landfill," she says. Baker along with other nature lovers are working with law enforcement to catch people who litter.

"If I can get surveillance cameras put out somewhere, I want to catch these people because I know there's something they can find to do other than tear up and destroy the rivers," she says.

The River Rats along with help from the community will continue doing their part to keep the river clean, but send out a warning to litter bugs everywhere: "Don't litter the police with catch you," says Bennett.

And if they do catch you, you can face up to thirty days in jail and fined a thousand dollars.

If you'd like to help the River Rats keep the Alapaha River clean, you can contact them at 229-326-0084. Ask for Sue Baker.

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