Bottles, tires, plastics and debris cleaned up along Blue River - KCTV5

Bottles, tires, plastics and debris cleaned up along Blue River

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Nearly 1,000 people came out to help Friends of Lakeside Nature Center clean up along the Blue River on Saturday morning.

"A thousand people doing a good thing in a day is a really wonderful thing to be around," said Healthy Rivers Partnership Executive Director Vicki Richmond.

For 24 years now, the Friends of Lakeside Nature Center have set out to clean up along the Blue River. Twenty-five years ago the Missouri Stream Teams were formed.

"I like to give back to the community, just doing my part," said Ashton Shelby, a first-time volunteer.

Shelby and his sister brought their kids out to help clean up and give back.

"I think it teaches them good values and good ethics," Shelby said.

"It's really a community-based effort that makes a big difference," Richmond said.

Richmond said this cleanup effort on the Blue wasn't always so kid-friendly.

"When our project started 24 years ago, we had cranes we were pulling out milk trucks and port-a-potties and houses and couches, just anything you can imagine," she said. "As time goes by and we pull out those big illegal dumpsites we block access to those sites and they don't return."

"There's a lot of stuff," said seven-year-old De'Ajah Carter.

Each year illegal dumping is a big problem. Volunteers picked up trash, bottles and tires covering 25 miles along the river.

It's not just illegal dumping, but debris, plastics and trash from one third of Kansas City's storm drains that end up there.

"We'd love to get ahead of that stuff," Richmond said.

Each year more people become environmentally aware, but until all this trash doesn't end up along the Blue River, the Stream Teams will be out in full force keeping it clean for generations to come.

"I'm looking forward to coming back next year and keep giving back," Shelby said.

"I love doing this. This is my favorite day of the year. I do river clean ups in six states, but Blue River is where I started and this is my home river for sure, this is my favorite clean-up for sure," Richmond added.

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