Hartsburg hosting first Missouri River clean-up since 2008

Thursday, October 17, 2013 | 4:37 p.m. CDT; updated 7:51 a.m. CST, Thursday, December 19, 2013

COLUMBIA — "Scout teams" will be out Friday afternoon, searching for garbage along an approximately 10-mile long stretch of the Missouri River.

There are 220 volunteers signed up for Missouri River Relief's Missouri River clean-up in Hartsburg, program manager Steve Schnarr said. The event begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and will run until noon.

Volunteers will be shuttled by boat to clean up locations with trash, which Schnarr said are filled with waste deposited from high waters and floods.

"There was substantial flooding in the spring, so we are anticipating a lot of trash," Schnarr said. "Based on what we've been seeing recently, we expect about five tons of trash to be pulled off the river."

The trash can range from plastic bottles to tires to refrigerators, Schnarr said.

"People find some pretty interesting stuff out there," Schnarr said. "When they find something interesting, they bring it back, and we have categories that people enter in for a group vote."

Some of those categories include weirdest, oldest, most fashionable and sports balls. Volunteers will enter the garbage they find into one of these categories for a chance to win small prizes, including books, trail guides, hats and stickers.

As scout teams search Friday for litered areas, volunteer safety is a priority. To ensure safety, the teams check along the river bank, making sure they are climbable and not too steep.

A total of 10 boats, provided by Missouri River Relief, the Missouri Department of Metro Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the University of Missouri, will be used to shuttle participants and haul trash. Volunteers will primarily work in the water and some will work on land.

This year marks the third river clean-up in Hartsburg, although it's the first since 2008. Missouri River Relief has done over 100 clean-ups along the Missouri River, covering five states. The organization said it plans to host a similar event somewhere between Boonville and Jefferson City each October.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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