Volunteers drudged the muddy creak bed near Heritage Park for about three hours collecting 900 pounds of litter during Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful’s waterway clean up Saturday.

The group of 22 volunteers armed themselves with plastic garbage bags, grabbers and waders, and reported to small designated sections of the lower creek bed along Farm-to-Market 116.

“We had a small but very determined group this year,” said Silvia Rhoads, KCCB executive director. “This particular area was in desperate need … I’ve never seen a place so bad.”

Aside from the more commonly found litter items, such as plastic bags, plastic foam cups and beer cans, the group also pulled recovered several pairs of socks, carpet pads, pants, jackets, discarded metal scraps, two waterlogged jumpsuits and a child-sized toy truck.

“It’s really surprising how much trash is actually out here,” said Judy Martinez, first-time volunteer.

Martinez wasn’t the only person shocked by the amount or types of trash taken from the creek.

“All this trash makes me so upset,” said volunteer Ilse Meier. “It is hard to understand why our water ways, roads and parks have to look like this.”

Rhoads said it isn’t uncommon for the city’s water ways to be among the most littered locations in Copperas Cove.

“We have a lot of creeks, ponds and drainage ditches where trash tends to collect and pile up,” Rhoads said. “Eventually, it can add up in our lakes and affect our drinking.”

While it’s important for people to participate in the periodic cleanups, it’s more important for them to understand the consequences of littering, Rhoads said.

“I also believe that the quickest way we can teach people not to litter is to have them come out and pick up others’ trash,” she said.

Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful tries to organize at least one water way cleanup annually. Last year, 37 volunteers removed 660 pounds of litter from other locations.

“It’s unfortunate that it gets to this point where something has to be done,” said Robert Freyer, a veteran volunteer for the organization who helped with previous litter cleanups.

For more information about KCCB cleanups, go to www.ci.copperas-cove.tx.us/pages/KCCB/kccb.htm or call Rhoads at (254) 547-4242.

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