Norfolk’s Poplar Hall Park a little cleaner, thanks to community volunteers


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk park is now much cleaner and less of an environmental threat after some good Samaritans took it upon themselves to start a cleanup crew.

10 On Your Side first reported Friday on the trash accumulation revealed after the city cut back non-native plants at Poplar Hall Park.

Following that report, at least three people showed up to do something about the years of neglected trash left behind in the waterway. Trash was everywhere — especially in the sensitive waterways around the park — and no one had picked it up yet.

Those three were moved to action by the report, they said.

After the report ran Friday night, Sam Sisco and his girlfriend Julianna Pluess came to the park Saturday morning.

“It was disgusting. It wanted to make me vomit it was so bad. It was so bad you could see trash everywhere,” he said.

After watching 10 On Your Side’s report, retired U.S. Navy member James Ross also decided he wanted to volunteer.

“That’s how we get a better world. Get off Facebook and all that stuff and instead of getting on social media and talking trash, get out here and pick up the trash,” he said.

They shot video on how the three banded together, grabbed trash bags and gloves, and just picked up trash. It took about six hours.

Sisco said low tides revealed even more trash.

“I guess I was walking on top of it, the bottles and cans and trash the whole time. There is also a lot more trash exposed now … due to really low tides,” Sisco said.

There are many before and after pictures and video.

The three who helped pick up have never been to the park before this past week, and don’t live in Norfolk.

They even constructed a tall “throne of trash.”

“I said ‘You know what, I am going to make something that really people can’t miss…’ I want to make sure when you look at it, and you say ‘Wow, it was a mountain of trash.’ I’m 6’2″ and it is as tall as me,” Sisco said.

Sisco also spoke about the disposable culture in America.

“How we just throw things away and forget about them,” he said. “Nobody wants to look at the consequences because they aren’t in front of us, and then when they are in front of us, people don’t do anything about it, and that’s the point.”

This band of three said they collected so many bags they lost count. They piled them into a park ranger’s pickup truck, who then took the trash to the dump.

“We are big fans of 10 On Your Side… When you go to 10 On Your Side things start getting done,” Sisco said.

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