Pascagoula River is shining bright tonight thanks to volunteers

Pascagoula River is shining bright tonight thanks to volunteers

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Pascagoula River is a little bit cleaner now, thanks to more than 100 volunteers participating in the 11th annual Renew our Rivers campaign.

Most of the volunteers came from Mississippi power company, which sponsors the event. Several other companies participated as well, with one goal in mind: protecting Mother Nature's beauty.

"We've done pre-planning. We've done logistics around the clean-up today, and we'll have a safety kick-off to make sure that our employees know it's the first priority as we go out before we leave the day," Nik Budney of Mississippi Power explained.

Jeff Shepard with Mississippi Power says finding the trash takes work.

"We go out on reconnaissance missions leading up to the event, and we figure out where are big pieces of trash that we can haul in."

Big indeed, like water heaters, abandoned boats, and even a refrigerator.

"We live here, we work here, we play here. We just enjoy being on the river, and so when we come out here with our families, we want to make sure it's nice and clean and have a good time," volunteer Jimmy Dennis said.

During the past 11 years of Renew Our Rivers, a lot of trash has been collected. The numbers, according to Shepard, are astounding.

"Through 10 full years and almost all of our clean-ups this year, we have removed over 330 tons of debris from those waterways. Here on the Pascagoula River alone, we are just shy of 40 tons."

Part of that tonnage, a highway barrier and even more to be hauled away.  No doubt, a good day on the river.

Thursday's effort on the river is just the beginning.  Another clean-up will be held in October along the shores of Gulfport Lake.

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