JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Jacksonville residents collected trash from the wetlands and islands on the New River Thursday in honor of National Estuaries Week.
Twelve kayakers and a canoe launched off the docks at Sturgeon City Thursday morning on a mission to clean up the river. Volunteer Ellie Althoff said humans lead to much of the trash.
“A lot of the reason that we have to do this is because of humans,” Althoff said. “So it is our job also to help the environment and clean it up afterwards.”
The volunteers worked along the wetlands and marshes for several hours collecting pounds of litter, including bottles, cans, Styrofoam and even a military cot.
“We’re cleaning up trash that could inhibit eggs from growing from fish that may be on the bottom of the wetlands,” said Pat Donovan-Potts, Jacksonville’s stormwater manager. “More importantly, turtles could get entrapped in it. Birds can get entrapped in it.”
Crews clean up the river every three months, but the amount of trash they collect each time does not decrease.
Many volunteers said cleaning up the river is important to them because water is one of the greatest natural resources in the world, and their ultimate goal is to have no more trash to collect.