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Rawlings-Blake Vows To Clean Up Trash In Inner Harbor

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Sunday’s storm is being blamed for an unsightly scene at the Inner Harbor this weekend: trash floating in the water.  But some say that trash is always there, storm or not.  Derek Valcourt questioned the mayor about the mess.

Trash—and lots of it—is floating in the Inner Harbor.  It’s visible even from the sky.

“It’s disgusting,” said Greg Skipper.

For weeks, Harborview resident Skipper has been complaining to the city about trash in the water, snapping photos of what he sees on his daily jogs.  He says the problem was at its worst this weekend.

“It almost looked like the trash was overtaking the Inner Harbor at a certain point. It colonized and was floating as a group of trash.  It was horrible,” he said.

Public Works crews blame Sunday’s strong storm for flushing more trash from the Jones Falls downstream into the harbor.  To make matters worse, they say a special boom designed to stop trash from flowing broke during the storm.  It’s already been replaced. 

The mayor says cleanup is a priority.

“The harbor is a valuable resource.  That’s why, when we had a budget deficit of $121 million, I made sure that I worked with the council to squeeze out money so we could keep the skimmers in the harbor picking up trash,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

WJZ spotted those boats in the water Monday night—along with plenty of trash they didn’t get.

Laurie Schwartz with the Waterfront Partnership calls the Inner Harbor’s trash troubles a reflection on the entire region.

“People don’t stand on the edge of the harbor and throw trash in.  That trash is coming from upstream and it’s not just from the city, it’s from the counties as well,” Schwartz said.

“I’m sure there’s some trickle down, but this is pretty consistent, trash floating in the harbor,” Skipper said.

Travel and Leisure Magazine just ranked Baltimore as the sixth dirtiest city in the country, right behind New York.

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