Passionate volunteers overcome small turnout at Coastal Cleanup

Published: Oct. 19, 2013 at 6:03 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2013 at 11:16 PM CDT
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Dabe Hudgens
Dabe Hudgens

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Every year, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources sponsors the international effort to clean up litter in our area.

Saturday was the 25th year for the event and a celebratory lunch was held in Jones Park after a long, wet morning of cleaning.

"Mother Nature wasn't cooperating, but we still had volunteers that came out that were excited to be out and clean up all along the beaches," said Coastal Cleanup coordinator Lauren Thompson with the Mississippi Department Marine Resources.

Thompson said the inclement weather did reduce the number of volunteers, but those who came out didn't slow down.

That passion that was evident in Boy Scout troop 316.

"Ah, we got about 30 pounds," said 16-year-old Eagle Scout Jarrid Nault.

Most of that trash included in the 30 pounds was preventable.

"It was mostly bottle caps and cigarettes," said Nault.

That kind of litter is something 17-year-old Dabe Hudgens is all too familiar with, after volunteering every year for a decade with the cause.

"Coke cans that drift up from shore that people dump in the water," said Hudgens.

He showed off the Coastal Cleanup shirt from last year, with his sister wearing this year's design. He said he looks forward to future coastal cleanups because he knows he can make a difference.

"It's important to teach the younger generation so they can pass it on," said Hudgens.

While a lot was accomplished during the morning event, Thompson said being eco-friendly is something everyone should strive for daily.

"Reduce the amount of debris," said Thompson. "So there are things, little actions that people can take, and of course the simplest one is not to throw that trash out your window."

That respect for the environment gained new strength Saturday, thanks to these selfless volunteers.

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