SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The 26th annual Mississippi Coastal Cleanup was a smashing success on Saturday. According to officials with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, more than 1,600 volunteers from across the Coast came together to pick up 1,603 bags of trash along the 100 miles of coastline in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson Counties.
Of the more than 1,600 bags of trash collected, 275 bags were full of recyclables.
"Every year, the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup grows, showing that more people are dedicated to keeping the Coast free of trash," said Jamie Miller, Executive Director of the DMR. "It's good for the environment, but it's also an opportunity to teach our young people the value of keeping our beaches, bays and islands clean."
While volunteers were combing the beaches, marsh areas and barrier islands for trash, they also found some items they were not expecting.
DMR spokesperson Mellissa Scallan said cleanup helpers found a dishwasher door in Jackson County, a grocery cart on Deer Island and a watermelon patch in Hancock County. One person in Biloxi even found a bag of methamphetamine. Scallan said the drugs were turned in to Biloxi police.
The Coastal Cleanup is organized by the DMR and the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force and is a part of the International Coastal Cleanup. Scallan said volunteers picked up trash from 47 sites across South Mississippi that included shorelines, bayous, bays and beaches.
"We appreciate all of our volunteers, our coordinators and the members of our task force who help make the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup a success," said Scallan.
According to the DMR, nearly 650,000 volunteers in 92 countries gathered more than 12 million pounds of trash during the cleanup in 2013.