Missouri River cleanup raises awareness of water quality

11 months 1 day 5 hours ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 7:38:00 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
By: Brianna Stubler, KOMU 8 Reporter
NEW FRANKLIN - The Missouri River Relief organized about 250 volunteers Saturday to remove trash from the Missouri River as part of their fourth large cleanup of the year.
Special attention was focused this week on education and environmental cleanliness, coming to a close with the organization’s cleanup event today.
Jen Davis works with the Missouri River Relief, a nonprofit that started in Columbia 16 years ago, to address the growing problem of trash in the river. She said they have seen the amount of trash decrease, which she credits partially to the awareness they have raised, as well as the physical work of volunteers in regularly removing garbage.
“Since 2001, we have worked with over 20,000 volunteers,” Davis said. “We are completely dependent on the passion and efforts of our volunteers.”
They do receive funding from the city, as well as grants, but the work is done by citizens who volunteer their time to clean. 
The organization wants people to experience the river firsthand.
“Oftentimes, we are the vehicle for their first ever experience of the river, and we see that they take a sense of ownership from that experience,” Davis said.
Today, volunteers cleaned about 10 miles of the Lamine River to about five miles below the Franklin Island Conservation area.
About 10 motor boats brought teams of volunteers to spots along the river that had trash, allowing each group over an hour to clean their area and return with the garbage they extracted.
Tires, refrigerators, large appliances and litter from storm drains are among the items volunteers find in drains. These items wash into the river, especially during floods, from nearby fields or from city streets into drains that lead to the river.
The Missouri River Relief wants to remove as much trash as possible before the Missouri River connects with the Mississippi River and eventually the ocean. Because of the strain large cities put on the river, they put particular focus on the sections of the river south of Kansas City and St. Louis, with big cleanups in those areas every year, Davis said.
Missouri River Relief volunteers went to Omaha, Nebraska earlier this year and partnered with groups there to remove trash, although they typically focus on the lower parts of the Missouri River.
However, their ultimate goal is preventing trash from ending up in the ocean, “and sometimes we have to cross state lines to do that,” Davis said.
This issue affects local communities as well as the state as a whole; Davis said most people are not aware of how reliant people are on the river, and how important it is for various aspects of life. Because environmental safety is such a large, broad issue, it connects the Missouri River Relief volunteers with people across the country.
Davis said many people hold the misconception that there is a way to filter trash before it reaches the river, but that is not the case in this area.
“People think, 'Of course the trash gets filtered out,' but the trash goes into the storm drains and that goes directly into the streams,” Davis said. “Things like cigarette butts any sort of litter you see in the streets, unless it gets picked up, will eventually end up in the river.”
Efforts are focused on addressing the problem once it gets to the river, not stopping the trash before it gets there, she said.
“That’s just the way it is, as far as I know, in most places, and that’s why we have the giant trash gyres in the oceans; because trash just washes down from all of our rivers and ends up in the ocean.” Davis said.
Over 50 percent of the drinking water comes from the river, so the quality of the water is important, Davis said. She remains optimistic that as more people become aware and get involved, the conditions will improve, and sees events like today’s cleanup as an important part in that overall process.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - A water main break in MU's Hearnes Center early Saturday morning caused at least $100,000 worth of damage,... More >>
48 minutes ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 7:17:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
FULTON - The Fulton Police Department responded to shots fired at a McDonald's located at 303 S. Business 54 early... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 5:49:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a past sexual assault,... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 5:16:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
AUXVASSE - The Callaway County Sheriff's Office arrested five people Friday morning during a narcotics search at a residence in... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 4:16:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
FESTUS (AP) — A man and his adult son were killed when their small plane crashed near... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 8:20:00 AM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri will partner with two local groups to host a Chinese Moon Festival Saturday night... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 8:02:00 AM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD — President Trump held a campaign-style rally in Springfield Friday. Trump spoke in front of an at-capacity crowd... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 10:15:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A 46-year-old woman who set a fire that resulted in the deaths of two Kansas City... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 6:22:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Emissions near a troubled St. Louis County landfill once posed health concerns for workers and nearby... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 5:02:52 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
JOPLIN (AP) — Missouri Southern State University has abandoned plans for a dental school that would've operated in partnership with... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 4:51:59 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Some St. Louis police officers are still struggling with injuries more than a year after protesters... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 4:44:27 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police said a fifth arrest has been made in connection with an alleged homicide on Sylvan Lane... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 3:50:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police arrested a man early Friday after reportedly finding him outside an apartment complex, looking into a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 3:27:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY - The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals ruled Friday to allow the Clean Missouri Initiative to stay... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 2:53:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – MU is one of only two Southeastern Conference universities to experience double-digit growth in new freshmen, while several... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 1:12:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD - President Donald Trump is set to campaign at the JQH Arena for U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley,... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 12:43:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri Board of Curators announced a resolution Friday supporting the University of Missouri-Columbia's efforts to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 11:23:00 AM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - 82,000 Americans are still missing as the result of our country's biggest wars. POW/MIA Recognition Day is... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 10:59:00 AM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 65°
8pm 64°
9pm 62°
10pm 60°
11pm 59°