MS Power volunteers clean coastal waterways

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Power employees believe South Mississippi is a beautiful place to live, work, and play... and they want to keep it that way. Dozens of volunteers took part in the company's annual Renew Our Rivers cleanup Wednesday.

Mark Loughman works as Mississippi Power's environmental affairs director, but he also has another job as a dad. He wanted to teach his son the importance of taking care of Mother Nature. So Loughman had his 14-year-old son, Patrick, pick up what other people have carelessly thrown out.

"Patrick and I spend a lot of time out on the water enjoying fishing and boating," said Loughman. "I wanted him to see what we're doing today so he can pass this legacy on to his son."

About 50 volunteers removed trash and debris from Gulfport Lake and the Industrial Seaway as part of Mississippi Power's Renew Our Rivers cleanup.

"We live, we work and we play in these waters. We want to make sure that they're as clean as they possibly can be," Mississippi Power Spokesperson Jeff Shepard said. "That is why Mississippi Power is so committed to letting our employees take part in volunteer clean ups like this."

Now in its eighth year, Renew Our Rivers has removed more than 275 tons of litter from our waterways.

"It's a great effort because you get to see your results," Loughman said. "When we get finished, we'll go back to the dock. We'll get to see the tons of debris. We picked up about nine tons of debris in the Spring cleanups. We'll probably do about that number here in the Fall. So you get to see the tangible evidence of your efforts."

Volunteers said the cleanup brought them a new awareness of how trash affects our environment. For Patrick Loughman, it was a memorable lesson that he plans to share with his friends at Gulfport High School.

"Seeing the kind of stuff that people put out here just kind of opens your eyes up to what needs to be done to stop littering and trash in the waters," said Patrick Loughman.

Volunteers removed five tons of trash from Gulfport Lake and the Industrial Seaway. The Renew Our Rivers cleanup continues Thursday on the Pascagoula River.

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