Spring Melt Reveals ‘Ugly Mess,’ Residents Look for Litter Solutions
The sun-drenched shores of Robbinsdale’s Crystal Lake make it a desirable place to go for a walk on a nice day.
“I really love Robbinsdale,” said Elizabeth Ganino-Selstad of Robbinsdale. “We live two blocks from this lake. We come here all the time.”
But if you look closely, you’ll see plenty of undesirable things floating in the water.
“Snow melted. Trash appeared,” said Lou Ambrose of Robbinsdale. “I’ve heard someone call it snow treasures.”
Friday afternoon, Ambrose was on somewhat of a treasure hunt.
Every day, this longtime Robbinsdale resident brings her dogs and her trash picker to Crystal Lake to help clean up what others have left behind.
“When I first started doing this, it made me angry,” Ambrose said. “I would get so angry seeing the trash and then I thought ‘well, just do something then.’ So now, picking it up eases the anger because it gives me something to do.”
Robbinsdale Public Works Director Richard McCoy says to clean up areas like the shoreline around the lake, the city would typically use resources like Hennepin County’s Sentenced to Serve crew.
“We may also use our annual watershed cleanup event to help with such areas,” McCoy said.
Of course, Robbinsdale isn’t the only place dealing with garbage.
Illegal dumping in Brooklyn Park
“I couldn’t help but think, where did all that stuff come from?” said Jason McGinley of Brooklyn Park, referring to a pile of papers and other junk across the street from his house. “How does it get like that?”
McGinley lives along 68th Avenue in Brooklyn Park next to an I-694 sound wall. It’s a spot that’s notorious for illegal dumping, and sometime over the winter, someone left a ton of junk in that area.
“The snow just melted and so we didn’t really know the extent of the junk that was over there until the snow melted,” McGinley said. “But it’s pretty bad.”
Brooklyn Park city officials say it’s a common theme this time of year, and they’re working on several options to clean up this particular spot.
According to Jason Newby, Brooklyn Park’s inspections and environmental health manager, the location plays into the city’s response.
“If we can locate a responsible party/owner, we will send the correction order to them,” Newby said. “If items are in the right-of-way we will approach the adjacent owner or work with our Operations & Maintenance staff to see if they can pick up bulky items. We do partner with local groups and volunteers for clean-up events. Finally, we have a list of contractors we use to abate the violations (clean it up) if compliance cannot be achieved. Those costs are then assessed to the property owner.”
Either way, McGinley said he’s frustrated
“It’s just unacceptable,” McGinley said. “Taxpayers shouldn’t have to look at that.”
Keeping litter off the street (or out of the water) is a seemingly never-ending battle.
However, there is one easy solution.
“Throw it where it belongs,” said Ambrose, of Robbinsdale. “That’s the answer is to throw it where it belongs.”
Related: Brooklyn Park Sees Increase in Illegal Dumping