South Mississippian Pitch In To Protect Environment

The coast environment is a lot safer now thanks to a Hazardous Waste Collection Saturday in Gulfport.

More than 500 vehicles lined up at Plant Watson to drop off their hazardous items.

Hazardous waste collectors removed model airplane fuel, paint cans and other household chemicals from David Bass's truck bed.

As Long Beach's Assistant Fire Chief, he knows all too well how dangerous these materials can be.

"You don't want to contaminate your environment. You know, you want to keep these chemicals out of the ground and your drinking water supply. There's a proper way to dispose of it, and this is it," said Bass.

Batteries, paint cans and motor oil are just some of the hazardous waste materials that are being dropped off. The items are being placed in the cannisters you see here, and then will be shipped off for proper disposal.

"We bring in a lot of different vendors who have specialties in taking care of different kinds of wastes. Some of it may be recycled," said Kurt Brautigam with Mississippi Power.

This is the waste collection's 10th year.

Since 1995, more than 100 tons of hazardous waste have been picked up.

This year, people were also allowed to drop off their electronic waste.

"They're just filled with bad chemicals, plastic, metals, when they go to the landfill, there's lead, there's mercury in those electronics, and when they sit there for years and years, it just all collects, so we provide a way to get rid of that so that it's disposed of environmentally responsibly," said electronic waste collector Jeff Mace.

Event organizers and volunteers say they don't mind taking this hazardous junk off people's hands.

They say they'd rather haul this waste off for proper disposal...than see it wind up in South Mississippi streams, properties and ditches.

The waste collection is sponsored by Mississippi Power, the Harrison County Board of Supervisors, the Harrison County Beautification Commission and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.

It has been awarded the Gulf Guardian Award by the E-P-A.