06/26/07 — Man sets his sights on cleanup

View Archive

Man sets his sights on cleanup

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on June 26, 2007 1:45 PM

SNOW HILL -- Quentin Warren goes for a relaxing paddle in his kayak and ends up loading his craft with garbage.

He takes a stroll in the park and picks up litter instead of being able to enjoy his walk.

He says he is tired of feeling like he is the only one who cares about the litter that mars the local landscape -- and he is asking others to become part of the solution.

He said he knows the Riverkeepers who watch over the Neuse and he is grateful for what they do, but added that others need to get involved.

"They do a lot," he said. "But I want to get together a grassroots effort to encourage people to live this way, not just get together once a year to clean up."

Warren went for a kayak ride on the river the other day, and he did it again. He filled two discarded coolers to the brim with refuse like plastic bottles, a toy baby bottle and a bunch of tennis balls. All this came from an 8-foot section of the Neuse near Broadhurst Bridge, and he didn't even get all the trash he saw.

"I don't know why all these tennis balls were in the water. I guess I'll let my dogs play with them," he said. "But it does my heart good to know this stuff is out of the water."

He can always tell the places where people have been fishing along the riverbanks. The signs are there, the bottles, the beer cans, the food wrappers.

Seeing bits of litter everywhere grates on Warren's nerves. He was raised to be environmentally conscious. His father would take him fishing and point out the trash in the water and tell his son "how disgusting and environmentally horrible it was." Warren was taught that litter affects the fish and other wildlife in addition to just being ugly.

"I don't understand why people do it. Is it ignorance? Is it laziness?"

He said he thinks a lot of people don't realize what it does to the environment when they throw oil cans into a ditch.

"It goes into the creeks, and it goes into the rivers and then into the ocean," he said. "We use a plastic bottle one time, throw it in a ditch, and many years after we're dead and gone, it's still laying there -- after we've used it one time. It drives me nuts."

Warren has started a non-profit called Purepatrol.org. Residents can call 252-747-2132 to become part of the cleanup effort.