Trash problem could force sandbars to be closed - - Jackson, MS

Trash problem could force sandbars to be closed

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An ongoing problem with people leaving trash on sandbars on the Pearl River, above the main lake, has Barnett Reservoir manager John Sigman threatening to close them down. He says the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District has the power to do it. 

37-year-old Chad Shelton of Brandon says he has spent half his life on the reservoir and he wants to continue enjoying it. He cannot understand why people won't stop leaving trash on the sandbars, particularly at a place called Flag Island, about three miles up the river from Ratliff Ferry in Rankin County. Trash cans there are overwhelmed.

"We  hope people will voluntarily bring their trash home. We don't like to see people come out to enjoy the wilderness and then trash it and disrespect it on their way home," said Sigman. "The ultimate solution is to shut it down for a year or two, and then hopefully start back up with an attitude we must respect nature and it's a privilege and not a right. We don't think that's a good solution for anyone, but that is within our authority and that is being considered." 

Sigman has arranged to have signs placed on the sandbars and at Ratliff Ferry, warning people to leave only their footprints. There are new garbage cans and a dumpster at that location. People we talked to seem to agree something has to be done. 

65-year-old Eddie Gilbert, who virtually lives on a sandbar called Eddie's Island, about 2.2 miles north of Ratliff Ferry, which is always clean, says arrests are the only way to stop the mess. 

The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District is asking you for suggestions on how to stop people from throwing trash on the sandbars, so they won't have to be closed down. 

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