Columbia Volunteers Work to Keep City Clean

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COLUMBIA - Carly Love, a senior at MU, gathered her group of volunteers as they got ready to clean-up East campus on Saturday morning. The Crawdad Stream Team spent the morning cleaning up an area of town that can fill up with garbage as students move in for the fall semester.

Said Love, "There's been a lot more trash on east campus...the clean-up was definitely needed...we brought in a little over thirty bags full of trash today."

Love has been volunteering with the city for a couple of years now because she wanted to get more involved with Columbia's community. This is the third clean-up effort she has led. Although the group is called the Stream Team, there is no body of water on East campus. However the entire area is in the Hinkson Creek watershed, so any garbage on the street will end up in the creek.

Downtown Columbia faces a similar issue since it is in the Flat Branch Creek watershed. Adding to the problem is the fact that many people treat storm drains like trash cans, and use them to discard items like cigarette butts. All the water from those storm drains ends up in the creek, along with the trash people throw down the drain.

The city is trying to raise awareness about the issue, and several artists have volunteered their help. The artists painted murals on top of storm drains, some with messages to help remind people about the consequences of throwing trash in the drain. "Think before you dump", reads one message on a completed downtown mural.

Educating people on the importance of storm drains and water sheds is essential toward keeping Columbia clean.

Said Mike Heimos, City of Columbia Stormwater Educator, "No matter where you are in city limits, you are in a watershed and every single one of us lives in one, so it's important to remember that what you do in that watershed affects everyone that lives in it."

As Columbia gets ready for several fall festivals and Mizzou's move to the SEC, the city and its volunteers are working hard to try to keep Columbia garbage free.

There will be other clean-up events as well in the future.
For information on how you can volunteer visit the City of Columbia's website.