A group of Chinese fishermen got together a little more than a week ago with one thing in mind: fishing.
But they left Little Hall Park with truckloads of trash and a new mission to clean up the park they enjoy so much.
The Atlanta Chinese Fishing Club held a fishing competition Dec. 12 at Little Hall Park off Dawsonville Highway, where members of the club noticed a great deal of trash dumped.
Charles Li, board member of the fishing club, said the members agreed to adopt the park and visit each month to collect trash.
“The fishing club will hold fishing competitions in different areas,” Li said. “The preference is always for the Little Hall Park, which is closer to some of the members living there, and it’s also a very nice park.”
The December competition began at 7 a.m. and lasted about three hours. As the members were distributing awards, they noticed an “unimaginable” amount of trash around the lake.
“We found a lot of trash in that area,” Li said. “A lot of trash. We said, ‘Well, it’s really kind of nasty there, so we will do some service and volunteer work.’”
They brought in two pickup trucks, trash bags and gloves. Li said they learned a “quick lesson,” as the trash bags they used were not thick enough to hold all the trash.
About 28 volunteers filled two pickup trucks with garbage, and Li said they just made a dent in the problem.
“Most of it I think is littering,” Li said. “It’s food garbage, cans, styrofoam cups, boxes, papers and a few other items like syringes and needles that’s not good. But most of it is the paper trash I think people fishing or visiting there just threw on the ground and left.”
The Atlanta Chinese Fishing Club was established about three years ago by a group of fishing lovers of Chinese heritage living in the greater Atlanta area, Li said.
“From the very beginning, we were not only a group of fishermen getting together to go fishing, but we’re doing something for the community,” he said.
The club has raised money for local charities and scholarships, and members regularly help new Chinese immigrants who may not yet speak English.
Li said cleaning up the park they all enjoy so much is a great way for them to continue their mission of service.
“We decided we’ll come back every month — and be more prepared with gloves and heavy-duty trash bags — until we clean everything there,” he said. “We estimated it will take probably 10 more trips with two trucks to pick it all up. You cannot imagine the amount of trash over there.”