Damaging Pollution and Trash Litter Belle Isle’s Beauty

trash pic(Slug): Environmenttrash pic

Environmental impact on Belle Isle/James River abuse

Damaging pollution and trash litter Belle Isle’s beauty.

            An increased amount of trash and sewage at Belle Isle along the James River is contributing to a diminished sense of environmental concern.

By Michael Schuster

            Walking along the Belle Isle area of the James River on a warm spring day, it’s difficult to focus on the tranquility of a quaint outdoor spot as mounds of trash and sewage line the trails and banks of the river.

            For years, Richmond locals and Virginia Commonwealth University students have been flocking to Belle Isle en masse to enjoy the once peaceful serenity that the river symbolizes. Beer cans, bottles, food wrappers, and countless other items can be seen floating along the river and on the patron walking trails, indicating a strong sense of environmental apathy and a lack of respect for a Richmond landmark. A once family-oriented atmosphere now seems polluted and unattractive to a visitor who isn’t getting belligerently drunk and seamlessly disposing of trash in the water and on the historic park.

            “It’s really just a shame how some people treat Belle Isle. My family and I have been coming down to the river for more than 20 years, and it’s gradually become more intolerable and downright disgusting. There’s trash everywhere, sewage buildup, and countless homeless people that are completely taking away the beauty that I’m used to when I think of Belle Isle,” said Richmond local, David Price.

            As the environmental impact of these tragic occurrences continues to go unnoticed by Richmond city officials, the more susceptible the area is to remaining a den for trash and squalor. Some people just do not feel compelled to improve the conditions of Belle Isle and want to persist in treating this beautiful site with no regard to health, safety, and overall cleanliness.

            “It’s certainly become more of an issue over the last few years over the maintenance needed around the Belle Isle area. It’s a shame that people can’t throw away their trash in the designated trash cans down there and that people can’t enjoy the area like they used to. The Richmond Department of Health has been notified quite a few times about the issue and were strongly involved in trying to improve the damage being done at Belle Isle,” said Richmond Department of Health official, Corey Lewis.

            Although some health and safety agencies have recently become aware of the overwhelming environmental effects of a polluted Belle Isle and James River, there is most definitely a need for joint agency coercion to stifle the growing problem. Without a solemn dedication to improving the well-being of the park, littering, graffiti and other detrimental environmental and aesthetically unpleasing activities will continue to occur.

            “I’m really hopeful that there will be progress made in the upkeep of Belle Isle by Richmond officials in charge of environmental protection. It’s unfortunate that the trash build up has gotten so bad and people continue to turn a blind eye to the problem. I can only remain optimistic in a revamped environmental awareness surrounding the park and do my part to keep it clean,” said VCU student, Nicole Bayne.                                                                                        

With increased attention and a heightened concern over the environmental issues plaguing Belle Isle, students and locals alike need to do a better job respecting this historic Richmond attraction and picking up after themselves to help again make this area the scenic gem that it once was.

Reporter: Michael Schuster (703)-909-3513 e-mail: schusterms@vcu.edu

Commonwealth Times: www.commonwealthtimes.com

David Price: pricemd@yahoo.com, 804-338-0858   

Corey Lewis: clew159@hotmail.com, 804-864-2470

Nicole Bayne: baynena@vcu.edu, 703-600-9971

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