Volunteers Clean Up Trash From Illinois River After Fun-Filled Summer
Volunteers removed a lot of garbage from the Illinois River left behind by people enjoying float trips this summer.
“We're from here, and we like to be good stewards of the river... found plenty of trash, plenty of goods," a volunteer said.
A summer's worth of fun washed up on the banks of the Illinois River. More than 150 volunteers covered a 30-mile section picking up trash everywhere they could.
“We find a lot of cans, drinks, we find a shirt earlier, a lighter, Gatorade bottles, all sorts of stuff,” he said. “Pretty much people come out here canoeing they just forget something on accident or something falls out of the canoe when they flip it or something like that."
The clean-up crew was a bunch of families and friends who love the river and the recreation it provides to Oklahomans.
“I think that it's well used, I just don't think people clean up around it and stuff like that, so it gets a little bit of stuff in it and that's what we come out here to do so future generations can have a good time out here," Matthew said.
“Man, when it comes to straight garbage out on the river, you have to people go out there and pick it up," Hanging Rock Camp's Troy Sanford said.
Over Labor Day Weekend, cleanup had everyone involved, including the local outfitters who donated and launched canoes.
“Being a local here all my life we like to see the river stay clean unfortunately there are some people that do trash it, you just pick it up, clean it up, we're happy to have people come and help us," Sanford said.
“Without the volunteer efforts then we can't get it done," Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission's Ed Fite said.
Fite says the river these days is cleaner than it once was and volunteers are picking up less trash.
"In the '80s, we'd have several hundred volunteers,” Fite said. “We'd pick up several thousand bags of trash; we'd have to have a large compactor truck and dump trucks and trailers and things like that to haul it all off."
The Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission says that volunteers picked up more than a ton of trash from the Illinois River. The next planned cleanup for volunteers is in the spring.