River trashed days after clean up

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Trash floats in the Arkansas River Trash floats in the Arkansas River

Two weeks ago, hundreds of volunteers cleaned up trash in and along the Arkansas River, but the trash is already back. Riverfest is weeks away and some are concerned.

Trash isn't hard to come by in the bushes near the Keeper of the Plains, along the banks and even floating in the middle of the river. The city says the problem is a mix of people who litter near the Keeper of the Plains, and also those who litter across Wichita. When it rains trash from all over the city finds its way into storm drains and then into the river.

"We come out here for years and yesterday was just bad," Jessica Blackburn said.

Blackburn visits the river regularly. She's upset by the amount of trash she's been seeing.

"There's so many bottles over by those rocks, like I thought they were ducks," she said.

Blackburn returned with a trash bag and gloves and began cleaning up what she could reach.

"I think it sends a message that we don't really care," Vickie Walker said.

"You know, I don't want people to think that's a representation of how it is down here," Ian Shields said.

The city says it's understaffed and no one has the daily task of picking up trash out of the river unless it gets really bad. For the most part, volunteers are charged with picking up what they can.

Each month, volunteers with the Wichita RiverWalk Cleanup Crew meet and do exactly what the group's name suggests. If you would like to help in the effort more information can be found on the group's Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WichitaCleanupCrew/about/

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