The city of Fairhope is considering purchasing a litter trap similar to the ones used along some waterways in Mobile. The city’s environmental team has identified a problem spot where a detention pond collects trash along with runoff.
“It really can become a bit of a nuisance, particularly after a big rain or a big storm,” said Mindy Dees who lives just downstream of the pond.
Dees’ house is on a creek that handles overflow from the pond. In her time there, she’s seen firsthand the problem a combination of litter and flooding can bring. So has the city of Fairhope and city leaders think they may have found a solution by putting a litter trap where the pond flows into the creek.
“There’s a lot of trash that blows in there…plastic bags and stuff…things that we know are not good for our environment, so this would be a way for us to be able to catch that and capture it before it ends up in you know, Fly Creek or wherever it might end up,” said Fairhope mayor, Shery Sullivan.
While the litter isn’t currently an overwhelming problem, Sullivan said it’s a matter of being proactive. The detention pond on Morphy Avenue catches runoff from three different shopping centers and many roadways in between. She sees it as an opportunity to be good stewards of the environment.
“I think the biggest thing is, just for us…you know, we do a lot of education with elementary school children about not putting trash in the back of your dad’s pickup truck or not throwing trash on the street because it ultimately ends up in our waterways and this is the same with this detention area,” Sullivan explained. “It catches all the trash from those shopping centers.”
If not stopped, trash from the pond could end up in Mobile Bay by way of Cowpen Creek which flows into Fish River. The city didn’t budget a litter trap for this year but is studying the feasibility of installing one and how it would be paid for. For residents like Dees who live nearby, it’s a worthy undertaking.
“Ideally, anything we can do to make it a wonderful place to live but two, I think we’re…we’re conservation friendly too. We really want to make sure those water bottles and things aren’t out there with our fish and our wildlife, and you know, dogs or other animals picking them up,” Dees said.
The trap Fairhope is looking at is called a Litter Gitter. If that sounds familiar, they’re made by a Mobile-based company, Osprey Initiative and the city of Mobile already uses them. Because of the $26,000 price tag, Fairhope may have to wait and purchase it out of next year’s budget.