Detroit Riverfront visitors often leave trash behind and crews are struggling to keep it clean

Residents growing frustrated

Trash trouble along the Detroit Riverfront
Trash trouble along the Detroit Riverfront

DETROIT – Trash is a big issue along the Detroit Riverfront and it has been a constant effort to keep the area clean.

Mark Wallace is the President and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. He said for almost 100 years the Riverfront was used just for industry and often the best view of the water was exclusive to those with a few from high-rise apartments.

In 2003, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy started to change the vision of the waterfront by opening it up, cleaning the area and making it accessible to all.



USA Today voted the Detroit Riverfront the best riverfront in the nation in 2021. People visit the Riverfront and they bring water bottles, beer cans and lots of other garbage. When they leave, many leave the garbage behind.

Norma Powell lives along the waterfront and she takes a daily four mile walk along the water every day. When she walks she documents the trash and shares her growing outrage on social media.

Powell and her neighbors go out daily to clean up the garbage. While the Riverfront Conservancy does try to maintain the Riverfront with its own staff, they still struggle to keep up with the trash. Even though there are trash bins placed approximately every 100 feet.

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Detroit Riverfront. (Sara (Lovio George))

About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.