WIUM Tristates Public Radio

The Great Mississippi River Cleanup

The Tri States – For the first time ever, a multi-state cleanup of the Mississippi River will take place on a single day.

The event, "The Great Mississippi River Cleanup," is being organized by Living Lands and Water, which is a 501 (c) (3) environmental organization headquartered in East Moline, IL. The cleanup is scheduled for June 19.

LL&W's Natalie Linville-Mass said the cleanup will take place at 27 sites from St Paul to St Louis.

"One person really can make a difference, but the more people that get involved the bigger that difference is," Linville-Mass said. "That's why we wanted to pull this all together. We really felt it was important that we make this more of an effort and join the different communities together."

Cleanup locations in the tri states include Oquawka, Fort Madison, Nauvoo, Keokuk, and Quincy.

LL&W hopes 800 to 1,000 people volunteer to help out. It wants volunteers to register by Thursday (June 17) on the Living Lands and Water website so it knows how much protective gear to provide at each site.

LL&W says it has removed more than six-million pounds of trash from the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Illinois, and Potomac Rivers in the past 12 years.

"We sort it out. Everything that we can recycle we do recycle," Linville-Mass said. "We've got different places that we haul it to and we've got different contracts with the different garbage companies up and down the river."

Linville-Mass also said it's important to think about the river cleanup in terms of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. She said people often think there is nothing they can do to help out with a problem that large. She said the Great Mississippi River Cleanup gives them a chance to do something to help the ecosystem.

"I really feel like this something where you can do something, you can make a difference," Linville-Mass said. "The more that we pick up here, the less travels down to the Gulf, and it will travel down to the Gulf. So this is a way for us to get involved and take action."