ST. LOUIS, MO - Saturday the National Park Service celebrated their annual National Public Lands Day. The Gateway Arch celebrated with the Great MonArch Migration event, a Mississippi Riverfront cleanup, and free evening concert by the USAF Band.
Volunteers arrived early to help keep the Mississippi Riverfront beautiful by taking part in NPS’ riverbank litter pickup.
Erin Hilligoss-Volkmann with the National Park Service said, "It's really important to keep the trash out of the river. It pollutes the river and it moves down stream to end up in the Gulf of Mexico."
Dozens of volunteers loaded bags after bags of trash, vowing to preserve the mighty Mississippi River.
"It makes me feel good. I always like to help when I can clean the environment and the park," said Matt Faupel.
During the clean-up, some said they did not realized how neglected the rivers were with the unsightly and toxic accumulation of trash along the banks.
"It's so important to help the native fish to thrive with all the invasive species coming in. So we don't want to kill more native fish while the invasive species are taking all the food," said Hunter Gonzalez.
The volunteers say they were excited to roll up their sleeves and get dirty to clean up the environment.
"If they could see how much trash is out here, I think they would be convinced that littering is not good for our environment," said Lucy Gonzalez.
Some volunteers say seeing all the debris made then very angry because the Mississippi River is a national treasure. The group dug up a tires, wood, water bottles, cans ,plastics items and just about everything you could think of to help beautify , restore, and maintain the river.