Old clothes, television boxes, discarded shopping carts and old books littered the railroad tracks and brush behind Gala Plaza, an illegal dumping site according to the head of Keep Rome Floyd Beautiful, and has attracted complaints from bushiness.
“Along the tracks it looks less like litter and more like illegal dumping,” Emma Wells, project manager of KRFB, said. “The street department isn’t responsible for this. If we don’t clean it up it will never get done.”
Wells picked the spot for The Church at Rome youth group because it wasn’t on a road and would be safer for the students. The youth group spent a good two hours on Thursday cleaning up as much as they could behind the plaza along with Wells and other church volunteers.
Wells handed some students clear plastic bags for aluminum cans and plastic bottles, while others received black trash bags for the rest of the garbage. The cardboard boxes they found would be contaminated and not able to be recycled, she said. The cans and bottles can be recycled regardless of the state the volunteers find them in Wells added.
“(We) decided we wanted to do a lot of service stuff for the youth group,” Joey Haynes said.
Haynes, pastor of The Church at Rome, said the church tries to take the youth group on at least four or five community service projects throughout the year. After they finished the church was going to hand out bottles of water to construction crews. While the group has fun eating ice cream and going to Six Flags, but they also need to do Christ’s work, he said.
“We want to have fun, but living for Jesus is about service,” he added.
Watching the students gather trash, Wells commented on how surprised she is that illegal dumping sites still exist. The site was in the city limits and residents of the City of Rome can have trash pick up included with their utility bill. The fee for the city to issue a 65-gallon trash can is $9.95 a month, according to the City of Rome Solid Waste website.
Only about one-third of city residents take advantage of the recycling program, she said. For county residents there are eight dump/transfer stations throughout the county that also have recycling stations.
Wells said she has a list of projects to complete around the county and is always looking for volunteers. All cleanups are open to the public and those who wish to pick up litter on their own can check out litter kits from KRFB at the office in the ECO Center at Ridge Ferry Park.
On Monday Keep Rome Floyd Beautiful will have the yearly Litter Index Tour. The yearly tour takes volunteers around the city and county where litter is reported to be the worst. The volunteers take note of the street and section where they see litter and KRFB coordinates with city and county crews to get the trash removed.
People can still volunteer, Wells said, but they need to let her know by Friday. The event will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday and will cover two large areas of Rome and Floyd county.
“It may be overkill,” Wells said. “But we will see.”