'Great Arkansas Cleanup' looks to beautify the Natural State

5th annual Great Arkansas River Cleanup

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- This weekend, across the state, volunteers will be picking up trash along roadways, parks, and public areas as part of the "Great Arkansas Cleanup."

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is hoping this year's local cleanup is bigger and better than previous years.

"Y'all just be real careful.  I'll make sure to get this up," instructed Erika Droke, who is one of the coordinators of the cleanup.  She admitted that she is a little hyper driven when it comes to trash on the ground.

"Who wants to go fishing and pull trash out off a gutted catfish?  You probably don't want to eat that," said Droke.

The Great Arkansas River Cleanup is apart of a statewide cleanup effort taking place this weekend.

Dozens of volunteers will walk along the Arkansas River, picking up trash from its shores.  Their aim is to keep the Natural State natural.

Friday's trash pickup began right outside ADEQ headquarters, where a piece of plastic in a storm drain bothered Droke.

"Before we know it, all this trash that's in our streets will end up in our storm drains."

Those storm drains, when it rains, flow directly in to the river.

"When we are doing river clean ups, it’s important to clean up our neighborhood around the river.  And that's why we are out here picking up some of this stuff today."

It's the fifth year for the cleanup, which is held in the fall, after a busy summer of camping and fishing and before big fall events, like the Big Dam Bridge 100.

"Between all of us, last year, we were able to pick up to four tons of trash, in and around the Arkansas River.  All in one day, so it's pretty incredible the difference that can be made in one day," Droke explained.


Of course, the ADEQ would like more manpower and more trash collected this year.  The event kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday morning at the Burns Park Boat Ramp.


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