Brandon, MS (WLBT) - Plenty of folks enjoy hang-out time along the Pearl River every year.
Now, several groups are coming together to clean up the view, and make the drinking water safer in the process.
Last year, volunteers collected over 34,000 pounds of trash from the Pearl River watershed.
Biology teacher Chris Lockhart hoped that this year, the number would be far lower.
“This is the water that we swim in, the water that we fish in, so it’s important that we keep the Pearl River shed healthy," said Lockhart.
Lockhart also owns a kayaking company, and he provided over 40 kayaks for volunteers to use.
“Be the change that you wish to see," he said. "So whether it’s one person picking up a sheet of paper or you, get a group of college students picking up, it will be a snowball effect.”
Lockhart said it’s important to understand the effect that polluted water has on our eco-system.
“In the Pearl River, we do have endangered species; from the sturgeon to the Ringback turtle," added Lockhart. "So we want to make sure that we can protect and treasure those natural resources, especially the ones that we have here in Mississippi.”
Even if it’s one piece of paper, collectively, it makes a difference, he said.
“Start small and then the change will make it’s way up,” said Lockhart.
But what wasn’t small was the turn out at Pelahatchie Park in Brandon on Saturday.
Project coordinator Mindy Stevens invited students from the Hinds Community College Honors Program.
“We want to keep the plastic out of our water, out of our drinking water," said Stevens. “The reservoir is the drinking water for this area.”
Stevens believes that it’s important for students to value the state’s natural resources.
“We’re limited without water and we don’t want to pollute it," she added.
Each piece of trash that was collected Saturday means that the Pearl River is one step closer to being what is was intended to be: Clean.