Volunteers tackle trash along Meramec River and tributaries

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FENTON, MO - Operation Clean Stream marked its 50th anniversary Saturday with a huge clean up along many miles of the Meramec watershed. Around 1,500 volunteers turned out to clean up 500 miles along the Meramec River and four of its major tributaries, including the Big River, the Bourbeuse River, the Courtois River, and the Huzzah River.

There were 75 sites where trash was being picked up including at George Winter Park.

Fred Guillossou came to the park with his canoe from Webster Groves.

“I paddle in the streams a lot on the rivers and it just hurts me when they look like a landfill and they’re dirty. So I just come out here and do my part,” said Guillossou.

A group from Monsanto came to George Winter Park as well. They filled several bags of trash and dug up a tire that was lodged in the ground.

“For me, it’s for the next generation. We get to enjoy this. We get to enjoy the beauty. But if there aren’t more people cleaning it up, that generation beyond won`’ have this kind of pretty to go to,” said Anna Weiskopf.

“I feel happy to help the environment. This is a beautiful place and we need to make it beautiful again after what happened in the flood,” said 12 year old Adithrri Subramanian who was there with her dad.

All kinds of trash was collected from TVs to toilet seats to shingles from homes.

Tim Ganz with Operation Clean Stream says the trash not only comes from people littering but also from events like floods where debris is simply washed away.
“We use these rivers for recreation, for drinking water, you know we need to keep them as clean as we can. It improves water quality, it improves peoples experience when they’re out here recreating,' said Ganz.

Guillossou added, “Take care of the environment. Take care of it for our children so it will be here in the future.”

Operation Clean Stream is part of the Open Space Council. The clean up netted about 300 cubic yards of trash and more than 1,000 tires.

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