By Lauren Wanko
Old tires, bottles, cans, hair combs — that’s just some of the trash scattered along the Delaware River shoreline in West Deptford Township. At a glance, the view is almost picturesque with sweeping views of the Philadelphia skyline and the soothing sound of the water gently washing over the sand. But as that water washes over the sand it leaves behind trash that piles along the shore.
“For a lot of people you see them throwing trash out of the car so if you could throw it out the car on the side of the road, it goes down the sewer into the river,” said West Deptford resident Rich St. Petery.
“It’s a shame. We just don’t take care of our own country. How much trouble is it to have people clean it up themselves? To me it’s outrageous,” said Mickleton resident Jim Gorman.
Some locals say the trash along the Delaware River isn’t a new problem, but the amount of trash is increasing.
“I was boating on this river back in the 60s. It was a problem back then too — trash, tires and everything, you know, floating in the river,” St. Petery said. “But not quite to the extent that it is right now.”
St. Petery says the litter isn’t limited to one area or a particular municipality either.
“It’s the whole length of the river. I’ve been up and down the river in the boat. It’s a problem along the whole river,” he said.
Gloucester County Freeholder Director Robert Damminger says he was taken aback when he saw a local newspaper picture of the litter and debris along the banks of the Delaware.
“We have all got to pitch in and do a better job of keeping our environment clean, and as a start I have called upon on the Department of Corrections community clean-up crews to begin getting this area under control,” Damminger said.
The Freeholder Director’s office says so far the inmate crews have removed more than 100 bags of trash and 70 tires. They’ve been working along the Delaware River at least twice a week since Feb. 11.
Mickleton resident Dot Gorman thinks clean-up work along the Delaware River can prompt a volunteer effort statewide.
“I kind of think if service organizations could get involved, they could make it a project once in a while to go about the state, not just the riverfront but anywhere in the state to try to pick up trash,” she said.
The inmate crews are expected to work on the trash pick-up over the next several months. The project will span from National Park to Logan Township.