Eyesore on the boardwalk

Published 5:05 pm Monday, August 18, 2008

By Staff
Cub scout takes out wetlands trash
Staff Writer
The City of Washington Wetlands Project holds many interesting surprises; giant snapping turtles, a family of otters, majestic cranes, schools of overgrown carp … and a sea of garbage.
Since the project was established, a steady stream of trash has made its way into the wetlands along with the abundant aquatic wildlife.
The public is starting to take notice (reference: today’s Sound Off), but an eco-conscious 10-year-old boy took initiative.
Ben Rucquoi, and his father David, paid a visit to Ben’s uncle, Dr. Marc Rucquoi this past week. Marc’s family lives on E. Main Street, only a few blocks away from the N.C. Estuarium and waterfront boardwalk. While staying with his uncle’s family for the week, Ben frequented the Estuarium and boardwalk.
Marc said that Ben enjoyed the Washington waterfront, but was concerned about the amount of garbage floating in the scenic wetlands project.
Before returning with his father to their hometown of Darien, Conn. on Saturday, Ben decided to take action. Being the intuitive Cub Scout that he is, Ben devised a way to pick up the trash from the waterfront boardwalk.
With the help of his father and uncle, Ben used duct tape to fasten a fishing net onto the end of an extensible painting pole.
The three then went out to the boardwalk and spent half a day fishing out garbage.
By the end of the day, Ben had picked up “two big garbage bags full” of trash.
Marc said he enjoyed watching his nephew clean up the beautiful waterfront area.
Although Ben picked up plenty of trash, Marc said, “There’s plenty still out there for other volunteers.”
He said his nephew ran out of cleanup time, but is encouraging area Boy Scouts to follow up on the revitalization effort. Marc is even donating Ben’s pickup tool to the N.C. Estuarium for further cleanups.
Rumley thinks that cleaning up the wetlands must be a joint effort between the public and city.
Rumley, who frequents the boardwalk, is not sure how the trash has built up in the wetlands project.
He speculated that it could be from littering by Moss Landing construction workers or public boardwalk traffic.
To his knowledge, city workers go into the wetlands periodically and clean it out.
Rumley finds this much more advisable than any grandiose cleanup efforts by the public.
Although the Estuarium’s manager appreciates the concern, he said, “It’s my gut feeling that the city would be best suited to do that kind of thing.”