"Renew Our Rivers" draws young volunteers

By: Rhiana Huckins Email
By: Rhiana Huckins Email

Each year, a lot of people pitch in to clean up the area, but this year volunteer turn out for the program was bigger than ever.

"We do not want to end up like some of these other states have- such a pollution problem where they have to warn people about their water supply. We don't want there to be any water restrictions on how people can use it" says Michelle McAndrews, Human Resource Analyst of Alabama Power.

That is exactly why Alabama Power, the Coast Guard, and other volunteers have an annual clean up on Lake Eufaula.

“Renew Our Rivers” has been going on for 4 years in Barbour County and 10 years in other areas along the Gulf Coast.

This year with help from 150 volunteers from groups like the boy scouts, cub scouts, and local high schools.

"We have tried to target our youth in the community and this year was our breakout year to get them involved" says McAndrews.

While working hard to remove trash from in and around the water, a lot of the volunteers thought about the danger of their environment.

"People don't realize the stuff we put in our water is the stuff we are actually drinking" says Brady Grier, a Boy Scout Leader.

"This is bad for our community" says J. Miller, a Cub Scout.

Items like plastic bottles, candy wrappers, and cups were found in the water, even tires. One volunteer found something that he did not expect to see.

"I saw a fridge just sitting in there. It’s disappointing. We want to live cleanly, but can't because people just dump their trash in here because they have no where to put it, it is disappointing" says Ryan Noblon, a High School Student.

But because of the efforts put in by Renew Our Rivers, some think the problem is getting smaller.

"In past years, we have ended up with a lot more bigger items, so I think people have gotten our message and know it is a problem to be dumping those items" says McAndrews.

A total of 2.5 tons of garbage was collected by the end of the day.

If your organization would like to get involved with the Renew Our Rivers program, you can contact Michelle McAndrews from Alabama Power. The number is (334)616-4232.


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