The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Opinion

March 15, 2014

Staff editorial: Help protect Elk River from uncaring polluters

— Kudos go to the group of volunteers last weekend who cleaned up more than 20 miles of the Elk River Canoe and Kayak Trail in Limestone County.

Unfortunately, their efforts netted more than 4 tons of trash and debris.

That’s right, some 8,800 pounds of discarded bricks, shingles, bottles, nails, tires and other garbage was collected by 84 volunteers working with Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The group was able to recycle about a half-ton’s worth of bottles and plastic while the rest of the debris had to be hauled off — after sitting in and polluting the river for who knows how long.

It’s wonderful they were able to collect that much but not so wonderful they were able to collect that much — and it’s unknown how much debris is still out there.

Not only does this trash destroy the beauty of the Elk River, but the river provides a source for area recreational activities as well as the county’s drinking water.

In other words, we drink the water that was used as a dump by careless and inconsiderate people.

Sure, the water is filtered and treated before it comes out of our spigots at home. But that’s no excuse for using the Elk River as a personal dumping site.

“Just stop it,” said Lynne Hart, executive coordinator of KALB. “That’s our drinking water … I don’t understand why people treat it the way they do.”

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