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Talking trash

Legislature to address littering

Isabel Braverman - Staff Writer
Posted 6/1/21

REGION - “We cannot fix this sitting at 100 North Street. We need partners in this to fix this,” said Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Rob Doherty.

He was speaking during an Executive …

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Talking trash

Legislature to address littering


REGION - “We cannot fix this sitting at 100 North Street. We need partners in this to fix this,” said Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Rob Doherty.

He was speaking during an Executive Committee meeting of the legislature last week about the issue of littering and garbage dumping in and around the county, especially along the Delaware River.

“We've got to protect our waterways,” he implored. “We need to do something.”

One of the main reasons, Doherty remarked, for the littering is that there are no trash receptacles along the river.

The legislators discussed partnering with towns and organizations that have a stake in the river to work together to try and solve the problem.

Legislator Nadia Rajsz said as previous Chairwoman of the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway they asked for receptacles to be installed, but, “The concern was that if we had receptacles the second-homeowners would dump their garbage from the weekend and go home.”

Rajsz said the Byway committee also inquired about transfer stations being open on Sundays, so visitors going back home would be able to take their garbage there.

It's an issue that has been increasing in recent years as the area sees more and more visitors, particularly during the summer.

“We're a tourism destination and I think as we're inviting people here it's also important to send them the message that they need to do their part to keep our community clean,” stated Legislator Alan Sorensen.

He said he lives in Rock Hill and continually sees cars throwing garbage bags out of their window.

“As the rise of Airbnb usage goes up in our county you're going to have more people on Sunday night that have a bag of garbage,” Doherty said. “So it's becoming a bigger issue.”

As reported in the Democrat, the National Park Service recently conducted a study in which they found microplastics in 100 percent of samples they took from the Delaware River.

Microplastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimeters long that come from a variety of sources, including larger plastic that breaks down.

Garbage that is dumped on roadways can enter into streams and brooks making its way to the river.

Rick Lander, who owns Lander's River Trips, said litter used to be a huge problem in the 70's but has gotten better over the years, largely because of river cleanups that they and other groups do.

Lander's owns the field that people walk through to get to the rocks area at Skinners Falls. They put garbage cans by the trail and collect a $1 fee to help with garbage disposal.

“I take probably a ton a week out of there,” Lander said. “But when you put the garbage cans there they're going to put it there, but at least it's in one spot instead of littering.”

Still the problem with littering persists, and it's not just Skinners Falls. The Peekamoose Blue Hole and the Claryville Swimming hole in Neversink have experienced their own problems with being overrun with trash, prompting the towns and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to institute parking regulations and requiring a permit to enter.

“I think it's beyond a litter pluck situation; it has to be a continual thing,” Doherty commented.

Sorensen highlighted the need for enforcement by local police agencies and also to reinforce the “carry out what you carry in” policy.


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