Residents form task force to tackle Florence’s creek litter problem

Residents form task force to tackle Florence’s creek litter problem

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Some people in Florence are forming a task force to cleanup area creeks cluttered with litter.

The group called F.O.W.L Fighters, which stands for Florence Open Water Litter, said hundreds of plastic bottles, bags and other types of trash have covered multiple waterways in the area, preventing the community from enjoying them.

Victor Webster, the founder of F.O.W.L Fighters, said he started the volunteer group after realizing the pollution in creeks. He said the initiative will benefit the creeks, community and economic development.

"People come to Florence possibly bringing new companies and new jobs and when you go across our bridges and you see litter everywhere in our waterways that's sort of more of a deterrent for them not to come here," he said.

The volunteer group will start with Jeffries Creek that runs under the bridge on Irby Street. Volunteers will go on foot along with using small boats and kayaks to remove trash from the creek.

After the initial clean up, the effort will be incorporated in the non-profit Keep Florence Beautiful, which will allow tax write-offs for donations. The cleanup will be an ongoing project maintaining the waterways every three months.

“It’s so much more than just getting the litter out. Yeah it’s great for the environment and that sort of thing, I’m very big on that, but it should promote volunteerism, it should create more pride in the community and we want that to be contagious,” Webster said.

The group will also work with the city to create a Blue Trail, which would allow people to fish, kayak and do other activities along the river. It’s something city councilman George Jebailey said the city is unable to do right now because of the current condition of the creek.

"Because of trees that are down from storms, because of trash, it is not an open trail,” Jebailey said.

Webster said he’s even working state law makers to help fund debris removal, but said it’s ultimately up to those who live in the area to take pride in the community and keep it beautiful.

"We got a jewel in the middle of the city limits… Jeffries Creek is amazing. We need to clean it up, we need to treasure it and we need to stay focused on that effort," he said.

"You can’t do any better than having people who live in the community decide they want to volunteer to make a difference and make their own community better, working hand and hand with the city,” Jebailey said.

The first cleanup is scheduled for this Saturday. Anyone who would like to help can meet at Naturally Outdoors on West Palmetto Street at 10 a.m.

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