31 tires, 81 bags of trash pulled from McCoys Creek

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Hundreds of volunteers got together Saturday for a massive cleanup of the St. Johns River and it's tributaries all over the city.

It was the 19th year for the St. Johns River cleanup and celebration, sponsored by the St. Johns Riverkeeper and Keep Jacksonville Beautiful.

Volunteers pulled odd mix of objects were pulled from McCoys Creek including a child's car seat, a tricycle, 31 old tires and 81 bags of trash.

"From bank to bank, and from here probably 5 to 10 yards up, it was just solid Styrofoam, plastic bottles, all kinds of trash floating here," said volunteer Jim Schwarz.

Schwarz was among 1500 volunteers helping cleanup at 60 sites throughout the city. Some here even got waste deep in McCoys Creek to clean it out.

"A half hour ago this was a pile of garbage. No water was getting through, or little water was getting through. Now all that is left are little pieces and it is starting to flow again," said volunteer Brian Street.

St. Johns Riverkeeper Exective Director Jimmy Orth and Councilman Jim Love were two who were working on the streets away from the river. The cleanup was expanded away from the river to cleanup trash that ends up in the storm drains.

"Those storm drains go straight to the river and they don't get treated, so anything that goes in the storm drain ends up in the river so we are trying to clean up the streets where the trash begins before it actually makes it to the river. And also sending a message to the community about how important it is to keep things out of the storm drains," Orth said.

St. Johns Riverkeeper Outreach Director Shannon Blankinship says seeing all this trash is disheartening.

"We see how much litter there really is in our waterways, how much it is going to take to combat the litter in our waterways," Blankinship said.


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