St. Louisans volunteer to clean up area waterways

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Evidence of widespread pollution turned up across the St. Louis area, Saturday.

There were small things like plastic water bottles; odd things like toothbrushes; and big things like an old washing machine.

As awful as those discoveries were, St. Louis was truly "tons" cleaner when the day ended than when it began.

Bag after bag hundreds of volunteers tried to pick the St. Louis area clean.

“Mostly bottles and cans, plastic bags, it’s all everywhere,” said one volunteer.

“Tennis balls, a lot of bottles, all kinds of different types of trash, maybe a few needles here and there,” said another.

The 7th annual Confluence Trash Bash focused on areas surrounding our waterways:

Six locations from Creve Coeur Lake to the Mississippi River.

The discoveries were at times amusing and all times saddening.

The trash bash has netted more than 61 tons of pollution through the years, including 5000 tires.

Thinking of how things would be without their efforts was enough to keep them going.

“We all live in the same habitat,” said Hank McNally, an Audubon Society volunteer.  “So anything that affects the animals that might be polluted with this junk we’re collecting also pollutes us, too.”

Great Rivers Greenway, St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District, Missouri American Water, St. Louis Audubon Society, Greenway Network, St. Louis Brightside, St. Louis County, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Stream Team, Missouri River Relief, St. Louis Forward and Big Muddy Adventures organized the event.

Volunteers were awarded prizes in three categories:  the weirdest, the biggest, and the most expensive, items found.