Thursday, June 3, 2010

Please don't mess with Texas!

Holy smokes!

That's a buncha garbage.

Please pick up after yourselves people.

Holiday crowds leave nearly 100,000 gallons of garbage in rivers, parks

Thousands of swimsuit-clad revelers came and went over Memorial Day weekend, and the annual flotilla of tubers left heaps of beer cans, candy wrappers and cigarette butts in its wake.

Cleanup crews finished dredging trash out the Comal and Guadalupe rivers Tuesday. City officials said this year’s holiday crowds dumped nearly 100,000 gallons of garbage in the local rivers and parks. Since it’s wet, the city measures the amount of trash pulled from the rivers in gallons.

“From a littering standpoint, it looks like it was a little worse than we’ve seen in the past,” New Braunfels City Manager Mike Morrison said.

Morrison said the city and its hired cleanup crew pulled 1,100 60-gallon bags of trash out of the rivers this Memorial Day, and picked up another 500 bags from city parks near the rivers.

“It’s unfortunate that visitors to our parks and rivers don’t respect them enough not to litter them with trash,” he said.

The city pays Texas Pristine Rivers $125,000 each year to perform trash cleanup on the rivers.

The company collects more and more each year.

In 2008, Texas Pristine collected 203,000 gallons of trash. Last year, Texas Pristine began cleaning the riverbed as well as trash at the surface, and came back with more than 285,000 gallons of garbage.

Following the first heavily trafficked weekend in 2010, they collected more than a third of that amount.

“We have two of the most beautiful rivers in Texas, and it’s concerning that a number of people feel it’s OK to throw their trash in them,” said New Braunfels City Councilor Mike Ybarra. “There has to be a balance between bringing in tourism and protecting our resources.

“The impression we don’t want to leave is that you can come here and enjoy our rivers and also leave your trash here. That’s just not acceptable.”

Ybarra said council should consider further cracking down on littering, either through increased enforcement, better education of river littering laws or by trying to curb the heavy alcohol consumption that can contribute to the bulk of the mess.

“I think there are several areas where we need to step up enforcement, and trash is certainly one of the most visible problems,” Mayor Bruce Boyer said. “Hopefully, with this being the first major weekend of the tubing season, this amount of trash will be somewhat of an aberration.

“But we need to get out there and let people know that this is something we’re going to be serious about enforcing.”