Seventeen volunteers collected over 900 pounds of litter and debris from Ponchatoula Creek during a three-and-a-half hour cleanup near the Wadesboro boat launch Saturday.
The Osprey Initiative-sponsored event had 12 of Osprey Initiative employees and five locals embarking on the cleanup in kayaks and boats at 8:30 a.m.
By noon, volunteers had removed 300 pounds of debris and 621 pounds of floating litter from the creek for a grand total of 921 pounds of materials no longer littering the waterway and its banks. Around 90 pounds of the floating litter was recyclable materials like plastic bottles.
Tangipahoa Parish Councilwoman Kim Coates, of District 10, said the creek looks much better after the cleanup.
“The channel itself and a good bit of the banks are greatly improved,” she said. “There is still some debris further inland, which was difficult to get into.”
Volunteers had to get out of the boats and track onto land with hip boots, going around bushes, debris and poison ivy to try to collect some of the more difficult-located litter, she said.
Ginger Tastet, executive director of Keep Tangipahoa Beautiful, said the event was one of two where Osprey Initiative gives back to the parish where some of its LitterGitters are located.
Owned by Tangipahoa Parish native Don Bates, the company has three LitterGitters placed in three waterways in Tangipahoa Parish, including one in Ponchatoula Creek.
“We’ve been working really hard going upstream to the LitterGitters,” Coates said. “This was the first time we really concentrated on going south.”
The Ponchatoula Creek watershed was chosen for the cleanup because it is one of the worst with the amount of litter. She referred to the pockets of litter along the creek that had collected as ”nature-based LitterGitters.”
“In the creek, there’s multiple trees or limbs hanging on the side of the banks, and the litter just collects here, so we spent 20 minutes by one limb picking up a ton of litter,” Coates said, adding that it looked much better after they finished.
A television, ice chests, a garbage can and big barrels were among the bigger trash fished out of the water or collected from near its banks.
Coates said some of the litter looked like it had been there for years while other items were fresh from the heavy rain.
Keep Tangipahoa Beautiful’s next cleanup will be Saturday, sponsored by Entergy. Volunteers will tackle cleaning litter in Manchac. The cleanup begins at 8 a.m. at the boat landing.
Entergy is cooking lunch for all those who volunteer.
To register, visit www.keeptangi pahoabeautiful.org/volunteer.