GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX) - A massive amount of trash was pulled from the East Pascagoula River Friday thanks to volunteers from three local companies. Mississippi Power, Cable One and Singing River Electric had 50 volunteers pick up eight tons of garbage and debris along the Pascagoula River.
That’s two more tons than last year’s cleanup. They said the amount of garbage in the water and on the beaches is a disappointing and sad sight.
“If we didn’t come out here and pick it up then we wouldn’t be able to come out here and use it anymore. It would just get trashed,” said one volunteer.
On top of the glass, plastic and other man-made garbage littering the beaches and river, natural waste adds to the clutter.
“There’s a lot of debris that’s coming that wasn’t left by people that use this area,” said Mark Loughman with Mississippi Power Environmental Affairs.
This year's heavy rainfall and the recent floods left a lot of plant and wood debris in the river.
“Make it a practice to pick up the things they bring out and try to leave this clean for the next people that come along,” Loughman said.
Some even started venturing off the beaten path to clean out those hard to reach areas like a drainage pipe.
“Beer bottles, beer cans, Vienna sausages, wine bottles and a cooler,” another volunteer said.
Some of the volunteers compared their efforts to the parable of the starfish, wondering if they are even making a difference.
“You’re picking up pieces, and then you turn around and see all the broken pieces next to you, but every little bit that you do. That’s one kid that doesn’t step on something and cut their foot," said Lorri Freeman with Singing River Electric.
They hope that the next people using the beaches or boating down the river will see how clean it is now and try to keep it that way.
Mississippi Power said that more Renew Our Rivers cleanups will be happening throughout the year in various places in South Mississippi.