Hundreds and possibly thousands of tires that have been dumped in the Passaic River in New Jersey over time, are being fished out over the next several days.
Workers and interns with the Passaic Valley Sewage Commission have begun the grueling process of pulling each tire out of the shallow waters one by one.
The work is being done by hand with the help of pick axes. Tires are pulled from the muck, cleaned and carted out to be recycled.
In just one afternoon, approximately 250 tires were removed from the river. But tires are not the only trash littering the waters. Workers found everything from a bicycle, to a typewriter and a bathroom sink.
"We can't keep up with it," said Paterson Mayor Jeff Jeffries. "Obviously there's a message somewhere, written on some bathroom wall: Dump in Paterson."
Activists say Hurricane Irene may be partially responsible for some of the pollution, but not all of it.
"We're talking about blight, we're talking about abandonment," said Dave Gilmore of the group Let's Save Paterson. "We're talking about people needing help."
Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Get our apps here and sign up for email newsletters here. Get breaking news delivered right to your phone -- just text NYBREAKING to 639710. For more info, text HELP. To end, text STOP. Message and data rates may apply.