by Wendy Sledd
COPPERAS COVE — Things can get pretty trashy, especially after several days of rainfall.
About 35 volunteers decided to take matters into their own hands Saturday. Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful scheduled a day to clean up the various creek and river beds that run through the city.
KCCB Director Silvia Rhoads said four waterways are in desperate need of attention, but the group of volunteers focused on two — Heritage Park Creek and the creek behind Bibleway Baptist Church.
“When it rains, trash washes down into the creeks. The areas are not as bad as they were last year, but probably are close to the same,” Rhoads said. “Surprisingly, the water is very clear and calm, which should make it easier.”
Volunteers were provided waders to keep from getting wet in the creeks, gloves and durable bags to collect the mounds of garbage that ranged from empty milk jugs to barb wire to old clothing.
The most common piece of trash collected was plastic bags used at local retail and grocery stores.
Several volunteers agreed they would start using recyclable cloth bags after the experience of fishing the plastic bags out of the creeks, unwrapping those caught on trees, and digging them out of the ground in pieces.
Rebecca Felton collected garbage at the Heritage Park Creek site.
“I work here and I want to help clean up Copperas Cove. I want my city to be clean,” she said, adding that her employer encourages volunteering in the community.
For the McDonald family, cleaning up the creek behind Bibleway Baptist Church was a family affair. LaSandra McDonald brought her three children to the event.
“My baby is too small to help, but my older kids are not. They had nothing to do today and I thought ‘Why not bring them here and give them something to do that is positive for the community?’” McDonald said.
“And, this experience will probably keep them from ever littering.”
KCCB’s 2013 waterway cleanup resulted in 900 pounds of trash being gathered and Rhoads expected a similar amount this year. The bags of garbage were picked up Saturday afternoon by the Solid Waste Department and will be weighed Monday.