ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The coronavirus has left people with few options so they’re taking to parks for some fresh air and fun. However, Albuquerque metro residents say they’re fed up with park-goers not cleaning up after themselves. Some are now taking matters into their own hands to make sure parks are safe and clean for everyone.
“I believe the parks are here for everybody to enjoy, some people walking their dogs, some people playing Frisbee golf, kids coming to play,” said Rio Rancho resident Robert Mills. “Typically when you walk up here in the park, I’ve been noticing up by the picnic tables, seems to be where people are eating and just throwing their trash. We have trash cans right here so that’s what’s making it aggravating.”
Mills often takes his dogs to Vista Hills Park in Rio Rancho. However, he says some people are leaving behind food and trash.
“I was walking up here on the higher part and I was walking around, I was letting these guys sniff around,” said Mills. “All of a sudden I heard this one right here, Baby, it sounded like she was gagging. When I looked down, she had some chicken bones in her mouth and I had to physically reach into her mouth and yank them out.”
Mills says something as small as those bones could’ve cost them some hefty vet bills or even his dog’s life. Others are also seeing an increase in “litter bugs” during the pandemic. One person posted a photo on Facebook, showing piles of trash under a ramp at a local skate park. Another says their child found used feminine hygiene products at an area park.
“Take a garbage bag with you, take something with you so if you’re having that good time with your family or you’re walking your dog, just real quickly pick up after yourselves,” said Mills. “Throw it in a garbage can or take it with you and throw it away.”
The City of Rio Rancho tells KRQE News 13, while they already patrol the parks a few times a week, if you do see an increase in litter, call it in and they may be able to increase maintenance as areas see more visitors. Mills says while he didn’t call the trash in, he does try to clean up any litter he finds. Rio Rancho’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department says they do maintenance twice a week at almost 50 parks in the area.