Residents of Butts County said they’re tired of being a downstream dump for metro Atlanta.
The shoreline of Lake Jackson is littered with garbage that residents said floats downstream from Fulton and DeKalb counties. On Wednesday, residents told Channel 2’s Diana Davis it’s been an ongoing problem but has gotten worse this spring.
John Miller always wanted to live on the lake but his dream didn’t include mounds of garbage. He said he cleans it up, but the trash keeps coming back.
“You wear gloves and you be careful what you pick up and how you pick it up,” Miller said.
He returned from a trip to Florida to find heaps of bottles, logs, coolers and syringes sitting on his lakefront lot.
“It’s terrible. Everything you could think of is in here,” Miller said.
Virginia Walsingham's home is just down the shore.
“This is the worst that I have ever seen it. It’s a health issue,” Walsingham said.
The South and Yellow rivers, in DeKalb and Fulton counties, dump into Lake Jackson. The rivers are about 10 to 15 miles upstream.
“It comes from Atlanta and here you are you are stuck with it. Nobody wants it. Atlanta, they don’t want it, and I don’t want it,” Miller said.
Butts County Commissioner Gator Hodges told Davis he's had the state Environmental Protection Division visit the lake at least twice, but nothing has changed.
“Basically, they've said that they've had some cuts in the budget and they're not able to monitor this,” Hodges said.
The garbage is more than a foot deep in some parts of the lake. Hodges said it is a good example of the consequences of littering. Sooner or later after a rain, it makes its way into waterways and washes downstream, Hodges said.
“This is the people of Georgia that don’t care nothing about throwing their trash away,” Hodges said.
With so much water between Atlanta and the lake, it’s almost impossible for the state to find and fine the offenders, Hodges said.