Mississippi Power Hosts Marine Debris Clean Up - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi Power Hosts Marine Debris Clean Up

"Coming down," shouted a marine debris volunteer on the Industrial Seaway.

An air conditioner from what's left of a fishing boat is added to one boat's debris collection. Another team recovers one of several old refrigerators claimed by Katrina.

The waters and shoreline of Industrial Seaway are fertile fields for marine debris teams.

"I volunteered for this event, and I'm really not a water person, but coming out here really puts things in perspective. There's still a lot to be done here, but being able to come out and participate in this has been very fulfilling," said Mississippi Power employee, Marcus Conner.

Clean-up crews make it a competition.

"Hey man, we didn't get it,it's theirs! Let's take their boat!" yelled one team to another.

The rivalry is fierce, but friendly.

Chad Pregracke is with an environmental group called "Living Lands and Waters".

"Who can get the most stuff, and you always get more stuff that way it seems like. It's just good fun, but doing a real positive thing at the same time, so it makes it real good," he said, explaining the rivalry.

Kremer Marine landing served as the unloading zone. The assorted debris, junk and litter finds its way to the landing and large dumpsters.

Back on the water, our team targets the area beneath the seaway bridge.

The clean up is somewhat unique because much of the debris was once personal belongings. Volunteers find moments of reflection while picking up the pieces.

"I know a couple of times I've taken a moment to say, this is somebody's. And it's not somebody's trash that got washed away. This is somebody's that came out of their home. So, there have been moments of reflection today in regard to what we're here to do," said Kim Flowers, a vice president with the power company.

The effort may only make a small dent in what remains. But it is making a difference.

"I expected it would be pretty bad, and it is. But a lot of people coming together, that's what makes it happen. And we got a lot of work done today, but it's been a lot of fun as well," said Pregracke.

The "Renew Our Rivers" initiative was started several years ago by the Alabama Power Company. The Southern Company then adopted the program and expanded it into Georgia, Florida and Mississippi.

By Steve Phillips

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