Letter to the Editor: West Point Lake is a dump

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2019

My husband and I recently volunteered to clean West Point Lake as part of an annual cleanup for the Chattahoochee River. Our group had 11 people total. While I want this letter to be positive, I also want to provide a realistic perspective from my volunteer experience.

West Point Lake is basically a dump. We only tackled two shorelines and walked away 2.5 hours later with over 89 overstuffed garbage bags of debris, many of them industrial size. What started out as enthusiasm quickly turned to amazement, sadness and disgust.  We had limitless shores of garbage to choose from as we passed shore after shore of garbage.

Our second shoreline was so filthy that we ran out of room on the pontoon as it quickly filled with garbage bag after garbage bag. Trash was everywhere with limitless numbers of plastic bottles, Styrofoam containers, toys, shoes, alcohol bottles, cans, lawn chairs, propane tanks, tires, oil bottles, fishing line, feminine products and everything else one can imagine. This was basically a public landfill. Not only was garbage piled deeply within the trees beyond the beach, but at least 5-10 feet of floating trash along the shores could not be reached, even with long trash pickers and wading boots. I can only imagine what harm has been caused to wildlife, fish and our water quality in this lake.

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How could this lake become so trashy without public and community outrage demanding steps be taken to protect our precious water, land and wildlife?

While we cannot stop garbage from traveling down the Chattahoochee from Atlanta, we can demand the lake be kept clean. This is not someone else’s problem. We are ready to go back out and help this process, but we cannot accomplish this without additional assistance. Without efforts supposed by the county, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and public, the lake will only grow more polluted with every passing month. As a resident of Troup County and a homeowner on West Point Lake, I feel we all can make a difference. If 11 people can pick up 89 bags of trash in just 2.5 hours, imagine what Troup County and the Corps of Engineers could and should accomplish. It is time they step up before it is too late to save wildlife and promote a healthy environment on West Point Lake.

Stephanie Scott