Polishing the Pearl: Volunteers remove trash from river

Published 3:56 am Saturday, September 28, 2019

Twenty volunteers collected over three tons of trash from the local portion of the Pearl River on Saturday, Sept. 21, as part of the 2019 Pearl River Clean Sweep event.

In total, 740 volunteers removed 40,075 pounds of trash from the Pearl River, in a clean-up campaign that spanned 15 counties, two parishes, two states and more than 490 miles of river.

Gary Parker and State Rep. Malinda White were the site leaders for the group of 20 volunteers that focused on cleaning the river from Pearl River Bridge down to Poole’s Bluff.

White notes that this year’s collection was less than it has been in previous years. She said that the group removed around 6,000 pounds this year, compared to 18,800 in 2018 and 7,400 in 2017. However, she noted this is a good thing, since it suggests that the community is doing a far better job of keeping the trash out of the water in the first place.

“It definitely has an impact, holding this event every year,” White said. “Our main issue is to educate people that the river is not a trash can.”

White said that there were some strange items pulled out of the river, including tires and a sink.

“You know that old line about ‘everything but the kitchen sink,’ well we managed to collect one of those too,” she said. “There are still a lot of tires, and it’s frustrating. I don’t get why people think that tires belong in the river.”

White said that the volunteers included some who rode kayaks, canoes and other boats to traverse the water. Other volunteers stayed on shore, and cleaned out trash as they found it.

“We had a good turnout for volunteers and appreciate their hard work,” she said.

Another volunteer group helped clean up the portion of the Pearl River near Bogue Chitto State Park in Franklinton. Amanda Beavers was the site leader for that group of three volunteers, which collected 100 pounds.

For more information and results of the Pearl River Clean Sweep, visit the website online at www.pearlriverkeeper.com.