‘An insurmountable problem’: Mayor calls on Bessemer to keep city clean as trash lines roadway

In Bessemer, some people are complaining as piles of trash line one of the city’s roads.

The trash ranged from big garbage bags to bed frames and even mattresses.

During Mayor Kenneth Gulley’s State of the City address Monday night, he said Bessemer is having a hard time retaining sanitation workers. He’s now calling on residents to do their part to keep trash off roadsides.

“If you’re going to sit around and wait on municipal government to do it, then you’re probably not going to be successful,” Gulley said.

Bessemer’s mayor said his city has specific crews assigned to pick up litter each day. Despite this, the side of J Terrell Wooten Drive off Jaybird Road is covered with trash.

“It’s an insurmountable problem unless we can get some help from the residents to help us,” Gulley said.

According to Sam McCoy, land stewardship director at Freshwater Land Trust, trash piles aren’t just an eyesore.

“If we have our trash piles, particularly of household garbage along the side of the road, that encourages wildlife to come and scavenge right there, right by the road, to try to eat our food scraps that we throw away,” McCoy said. “And that can lead to increased road mortality of that wildlife.”

McCoy said garbage can also get inside our waterways.

To combat this issue, he said the Freshwater Land Trust is using Litter Gitters.

McCoy said they put 13 of these in-stream trash collection devices in Birmingham area waterways.

As of last year, McCoy said they’ve removed 25,800 pounds of trash.

Lowering the impact of a problem, he says we can all do our part to solve it.

“Don’t throw stuff out the car window, don’t drive out slightly off the beaten path and dump your garbage in the woods. So just dispose of things appropriately,” McCoy said.

This story originally appeared on WTVM13 by Emma Owen. You can view the original story online here.


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The patented Litter Gitter is a tactical in-stream litter collection device used to intercept floating litter from stormwater runoff. The Osprey team handles all aspects of installing and maintaining these “trash traps” and compiles data on the items caught in them, recycling as much of the litter as possible.