12 News Defenders: The Pollution Problem - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

12 News Defenders: The Pollution Problem

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's not just about a few empty cans here and there. The ramifications of litter are worse than you think. And there are several problem areas in Montgomery. The 12 News Defenders toured the four trashiest parts of town according to the Montgomery Clean City Commission.

The Clean City Commission's Susan Carmichael was our guide. She says litter is spread out all over the city.

South Montgomery

Our first stop was in south Montgomery. We found trash from the Southern Boulevard Wal Mart blowing into neighboring properties.

"It's loading docks," Carmichael told us. "If trucks aren't covered properly, then a lot of trash blows out. It's also dumpsters that are not covered properly."

When asked about the issue, Wal Mart issued this statement:

"We recognize that from time-to-time trash can blow around our property. We're making efforts to help ensure our property is clean of debris and litter for the community as well as for our customers and associates by monitoring and picking up all areas of our property on a daily basis. We also have a third party company that comes out several times a week to help us keep the area clean."

A lot of trash also blows into ditches. We found all kind of junk in the ditches along the Southern Boulevard, which had clogged up the drains. The problem forces the city to fix the problem with costly crews that are funded by our tax dollars.

"I've always said that you are just throwing money out the window when you litter," Carmichael said.

East Montgomery

Our second stop was in east Montgomery -- McLemore drive. The litter on the side of the road was proof that even rural, out-of-the-way places are not immune to the pollution problem.

Carmichael says they do it because "no one sees them throwing out the litter in places like that."

North Montgomery

You wouldn't believe the junk we found in north Montgomery. There was broken glass and even medical waste at Forbes Drive and Jackson Ferry Road -- a reminder that litter can also be dangerous.

West Montgomery

Stop number four was in west Montgomery at the corner of Court Street and Fairview Avenue. Right under a sign that read 'No Littering' and near an empty garbage can, we saw fast food containers everywhere.

Carmichael joked, "It takes about a block to a block-and-a-half to eat a hamburger."

She also explained that vacant lots like this one attract more litter because there's no feeling of ownership.

WSFA 12 News contacted the owner of the property. Her agent says she hires people to clean up the area on a regular basis, but the trash is back in a matter of days.

The owner says Walgreen's is interested in the property, which could cut down on the litter problem. But that's a long way off. The land would first have to be re-zoned commercial before a store could be built.

[ON THE WEB: The Montgomery Clean City Commission]

But Carmichael says the real litter problem isn't just with what's lying on the ground. It's the affect litter has on our psyche.

"Litter attracts more litter," she says. "Then businesses start declining because people don't want to shop where it's trashy."

And as the trash in these neighborhoods increases, sometimes crime does also. Yet another reason to do our part.

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