Litter piles up with inmate cleanup crews unavailable due to pandemic

Litter piles up with inmate cleanup crews unavailable due to pandemic
Trash lies along the Bill Sims Bike Trail in Decatur last week after a lawnmower hit the area. (Source: Jeronimo Nisa)

DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - The grass along the Bill Sims Bike Trail in Decatur is an unexpected problem during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Normally, inmates from nearby work-release programs are send here to help pick up litter. 10-15 inmates would walk through the area and collect bags, cups and other trash before city lawnmowers hit the grass. But due to the precautions over the virus, that’s not happening. Our news partners at the Decatur Daily talked with Jason Lake, the city’s Parks & Recreation Director. “Since we’ve been using essential employees only, we’re still playing catch-up in some parts,” Lake said. “I’ve asked our folks not to run over the trash with the lawnmowers. It was supposed to be picked up before they cut. Obviously, this time someone messed up. We are sending our people back out there to clean it up this week.”

The bike trail isn’t the only place with litter issues. Lake said there’s usually three of those 10-15 man crews working around the city at any given time on litter management. “With this COVID-19, we just don’t have the manpower to keep up with our workload,” he said.

Mayor Tab Bowling defended his Parks Director, saying he’s confident that Lake can handle the situation. The mayor acknowledged the litter situation is a problem but with the pandemic affecting clean-up crews, everyone is doing the best they can.

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