BILOXI, MS (AP) - The coast is a lot cleaner after the 27th annual Mississippi Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, which saw volunteers at 58 sites across 90 miles of beach.
"It's just something to do," said Mike Barlow, who is volunteering for the second year in a row. "Keep the island clean, make it look good."
Using a chase boat, Barlow joined about 40 others from the Biloxi small craft harbor to ferry volunteers back and forth to help clear waste from Deer Island.
"It keeps the environment clean and makes more people want to come down and tour this place," said Barlow.
Volunteers picked up 87 black bags containing marine debris and 21 yellow bags with trash to be recycled. According to the coordinators of the cleanup, it's what drives their mission.
"The overall goal is to -- number one -- educate about marine debris and the harm that it does on-land and off-land," said Irene McIntosh of the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force. "And the second goal is to clean."
McIntosh and task force chairman Ed Cake coordinated this year's event, which was slightly different than clean-ups in the past.
Volunteers were required to look through at least one bag of trash they collected to document what they found.
"This year, we're looking at the micro-plastics -- the plastic materials that get in the sea that cause problems for marine life," said Cake. "The data are summarized and sent back to the Ocean Conservancy to look at the trends on marine waste."