Keeping Arkansas Beautiful: The Great Arkansas Cleanup Kicks Off

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ARKANSAS (KTHV) — An effort to keep Arkansas clean has been going on for over 30 years, and it’s especially important after recent storms.

Erika Droke with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, is helping kick off the Great Arkansas Cleanup at Cooks Landing Park with Keep Arkansas Beautiful.

Droke said the recent storms have pulled all kinds of trash and debris into water systems.

“When we’ve had rains like what we’ve had lately, it carries the bigger stuff in,” said Droke.

This year, around 30 volunteers have shown up. Volunteers with boats offered to pull trash out of the water. Some of the debris, like refrigerators, has been there for years.

“Anything that comes from the land washes down to the lake, to the rivers, to our streams,” said Droke.

But smaller things like cigarette filters raise extra concern because it’s bad for wildlife and water quality.

“If this is floating in the water to a fish that looks a lot like a moth,” she said.

Young volunteers are also working hard to keep the area clean from Maumelle High School.

“A lot of fishing lines and stuff. A lot of beer cans and stuff, picking it up,” said Jayda Fingers, Maumelle student.

It’s a task she didn’t mind doing.

“Somebody got to do it. Like just get out there and do it,” said Fingers.

In just a few hours the volunteers were able to fill dozens of trash bags.

“I did come here last year and you know, I got a lot of giant bags full of trash,” said Kayla Branch, another Maumelle student

They left knowing they can go back to a clean park.

“It makes me feel good, it makes me feel like I’m making a difference,” said Branch.

She even found small treasures along the way.

“You find a lot of fun things out here. I even found something that I can clean off and take home,” she said.

Droke said you don’t have to go to a cleanup to help out.

“Just pick up litter going to and from your car. You can pick up three pieces a day and make a huge impact in a year,” she said.

Volunteers say the cleanup started just in time for the Big Dam 100 Cycling Tour that will happen in a few weeks. If you want to get involved in cleanup you can find a schedule here.

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