Thousands Turn Out For Clean Up

Thousands of volunteers hit coast beaches, bayous, and islands as part of the 15th Annual Coastal Clean Up. For the first time in five years, the coast was clear for the clean up, with "no" tropical storms, depressions, or hurricanes threatening the event.  DMR officials say today's picture-perfect weather probably led to one of the most productive clean ups ever here on the Coast.

Hundreds of people hit the sandbars of Deer Island today as part of this year's Mississippi Coastal Clean Up.

The clean up was a family affair for Joe and Cristy Reid and their two daughters. They were surprised at what they discovered on their first trip to the island.

"We found a five gallon bucket...what else?" asked Cristy Reid.

"Lots of glass containers, all kinds of net fishing lures, bags, fishing bobs and all that kind of stuff," Joe Reid replied.

The Reids were part of Mississippi Power's clean up team. Joe Reid hopes today's trip will teach the children how littering can be hazardous to the environment.

"We want our kids to respect the natural beauty of the place, and learn, hey you just can't drop your stuff everywhere or litter everywhere, that you need to pick up after yourself," Joe Reid said.

Deer Island was just one of 60 sites where people are picking up trash and debris. The purpose of the clean up is to educate people about the physical and environmental dangers of littering.

"A lot of people don't realize that every piece of debris that enters our waterways has the potential to damage and really harm wildlife. In last year's clean up for example, in Mississippi, there were 16 animal entanglements," said Lauren Thompson, Public Relations Director of the Department of Marine Resources. "They were caught in all types of dangerous debris, that you may not think of as dangerous. Everything from fishing lines and ropes to plastic tarps."

"Littering can kill plants and animals and all kids of stuff," said Kyle Coor, a Clean Up Particpant.

This is a hands-on lesson that Kyle Coor, and the Reid family, will carry with them, especially after this year's Clean Up.

The Mississippi Coastal Clean Up is an annual event coordinated by the Department of Marine Resources and the Marine Debris Task Force.

4,287 volunteers collected 67,423 pounds of trash--that's more than 33 tons.

One of the oddest finds? Officials said, a voodoo doll, stuck with a pin.