Atlanta’s Proctor Creek, like hundreds of urban waterways flowing through cities across the United States, is littered with trash and debris funneled from nearby neighborhoods.
“Many people don’t think about where trash in the street goes,” explains Jon Radtke, director of water sustainability,
To help combat this challenge in its own backyard,
Four “Litter Gitters” will collect downstream trash using floating booms that guide waste into basket-like, wire-mesh containers. In January, the partners will install a larger, industrial-grade trapper called a Bandalong. Neither system requires nets or fencing, which can harm fish and other wildlife.
Coca-Cola North America provided a $350,000 grant to the NRPA to fund installations at four park sites throughout the Proctor Creek watershed. The traps will intercept about 80% percent of trash that floats down Proctor Creek, Radtke said.
An additional $50,000 grant from the
“We’re treating this as a pilot,” Radtke said. “We hope to figure out which catchment systems perform best under which conditions, then take our learnings and scale the program not only across Atlanta, but across the country. We’re starting here in our hometown so we can be as hands-on as possible.”
Signage will educate the public about the catchment systems and provide education on how to reduce litter by recycling and disposing of trash. Site visits and volunteer events at the installation sites will involve the local community.
Plastic bottles collected in Proctor Creek will be recycled and repurposed into high school graduation gowns for the Atlanta Public Schools class of 2020. Throughout the spring and summer,
“Through these litter catchment systems, we hope to not only reduce pollution in our local waterways but also show how recycling can benefit the local community,” explained Caren Pasquale Seckler, VP, social commitment,
The project supports The
It also builds on a multi-year partnership between
The nine-mile tributary of the Chattahoochee River flows, often unseen, through residential, industrial, commercial and park land. Proctor Creek sits in a highly urban area approximately 60,000 Atlantans – many of whom live below the federal poverty line – call home.
“Our neighbors in the Proctor Creek area deserve to have and enjoy a clean watershed as a natural amenity,” Radtke concluded. “Whenever you start to clean things up, the community takes pride in it and it becomes almost self-sustaining. So there are lot of great reasons to do this.”