Volunteers Pick Up Trash And Gain A New Perspective On Litter

More than 100 volunteers searched the ditches of Gautier this morning, like children at an Easter egg hunt. But instead of eggs, they were in hot pursuit of trash.

"When you're driving by it passes by real quick, but when you're out here picking it up, there's a lot more.  There's definitely a lot more than I expected," volunteer Cody Wood says.

The Annual Gautier City Wide Cleanup has scooped up trash for nearly 10 years. With each piece of trash, participants hope they're breaking down city litter problems. Some say after Katrina, litter throughout South Mississippi has gotten out of hand.

"Everybody kind of got into a mentality of "Well, it's dirty, so let's keep it dirty." We're trying to change people's perception," volunteer Troy Guillotte says.

And it's not just passers-by he's trying to alert. Guillotte hopes this early morning cleanup will leave a lasting impression on young volunteer's minds.

"They may be more apprehensive about throwing out that bag of potato chips, soda can, or things along those lines," Guillotte says.

Somewhere between the thousands of pieces of trash, it seems this lesson stuck.

"We're not going to throw anything on the ground, that's for sure," one of the young volunteers says.

And with that promise, Gautier could be litter free for a long time to come.

Volunteers hope Gautier's streets will stay beautiful for next weekend's "Wings on the Bayou" event. It's part of the Wild Wing Festival celebrating the area's water, wildlife, and wildflowers.

By Keli Rabon