Volunteers Help Clean Up Missouri River

By Jonathan Cooper | jcooper@kq2.com

Published 05/17 2014 09:01PM

Updated 05/17 2014 10:51PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) With raging currents and thousands of miles of shore line, the Missouri River has plenty of mysteries hidden beneath.

"It is an incredible amount of stuff that washes into the river," said Jeff Barrow, Missouri River Relief Director.

Whether it's an old refrigerator or a beat up basketball, trash piles up along the river's banks.

"The flood washes a lot of trash, but it also washes a lot of valuable stuff," Barrow said.

So to help clean it up, a crew of workers from Missouri River Relief and some local volunteers spent the day riding boats to find and then gather trash.

"Every time you see litter on the street, that stuff washes into a ditch and goes into the river and gets collected," Barrow said. "People are astounded when they see the quantity and also the variety of trash that is in the river."

For local volunteers, it gave them an opportunity to give back.

"You don't really get an opportunity to safely go out in the river and pick up trash," said volunteer Nina Pecora, "I've noticed a lot of trash, driving by, seen a lot of trash and not being able to do much about it, but today was a good opportunity to do something about it."

And the day wasn't all hard work. They also got to have some fun.

After collecting the trash, the organization held a contest for the most unique items found.

"Kids really get excited because there are prizes," Barrow said.

But clean up crews say the real prize is getting to help out the environment.

"I think the main thing is to give people a sense of connection and ownership of the river and just giving them an understanding of how our lives are connected to the river," Barrow said.

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