MEXICO — A Bethel man, who said he’s been asking managers at Walmart in Mexico and Oxford to clean up trash behind their stores, was ordered Wednesday to leave the Mexico property, after employees saw him picking up trash next to the Androscoggin River.

Tony Bennett said he’s advised managers at both stores for the past three years that he’s had enough of the trash building up outside their stores. He said when he saw hundreds of face masks, empty Walmart bags, Dunkin’ containers and used diapers spread out and obviously raked down the riverbank Wednesday morning, he couldn’t stand it.

“They literally just raked (the trash down the banking),” he said. “They raked from 20 feet to the pavement all the way to bank and they dumped it over the bank right with all of the leaves and debris and garbage for 100 feet long, 20 feet wide and put it right over the bank, with all the other trash.”

He said he told the manager Wednesday morning, “You’re the manager and you’re allowing this to happen in the River Valley? I said, ‘164 miles of the Androscoggin River, 3,530 miles of watershed and you’re allowing your store to disrespect us like this? And you’re not doing nothing about it?’”

Bennett spent the morning picking up garbage behind the store, but after employees noticed him, managers told him to leave the property. When he didn’t, Mexico Police Officer Lawrence Briggs arrived and Bennett left on his own.

Store Manager Scott Huddleston said Tuesday that the corporate office in Arkansas has contracted someone to clean up the trash but he didn’t know when it would be done.

Speaking by phone later Wednesday, Bennett said, “I don’t like to get so emotional and so involved in all these things. I got other s**t that I should be spending time on. I’ve got grandkids, but if I don’t do it who the hell is going to? It’s been three years and it hasn’t got addressed.

“I can’t walk away from it anymore,” he said. “I love Maine and I love the rivers, I love the ponds, the lakes and the wildlife and I’m not gonna let corporate Walmart s**t all over Oxford County, Maine. They can do it to the rest of the country and the rest of the world but they’re not doing it here on my watch.”

Bennett said Walmart should build a 10-foot-high fence along the whole area on the side of the river to keep the trash from flying down the banking and to prevent snowplows from pushing the snow mixed with trash down into the river.

He said the Oxford store, as of Wednesday morning, was starting to clean the woods behind that property.

“They’re trying,” he said.


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