Helen tourists’ trash lands Chattahoochee on Dirty Dozen list

“Shooting the ’Hooch” in Helen is enjoyed by thousands of swimsuit-clad tourists each summer, but trash produced by the activity on the Chattahoochee River has landed the river on a “Dirty Dozen” list.

“These colorful flotillas of fun sometimes leave behind an equally colorful flotsam for downstream property owners and other river users,” states the Georgia Water Coalition’s annual report issued Wednesday.

“In addition to fouling the beauty of Georgia’s rivers, litter, and especially plastic, poses a serious threat to wildlife,” according to the report. “Fish and birds can ingest these pollutants leading to health problems and death.”

The coalition says Helen officials “must enact ordinances that regulate the number of tubers that float the river each day.”

And “those using the river must behave responsibly by not littering, and leaving the river cleaner than they found it.”

Also, state leaders “should consider new laws that address plastic pollution as has been done in

other states, successfully reducing communities’ dependence on single-use plastic products,” the report states.

In 2006, Helen adopted ordinances banning the use of coolers on the river and requiring tube rental businesses to patrol the river and pick up litter.

“Now, almost a decade (later), downstream landowners and river users still complain of trash left by the thousands of tubers,” the report states.

“It’s a case of sheer numbers overwhelming the Chattahoochee.”

Helen tourists’ trash lands Chattahoochee on Dirty Dozen list

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