PRAIRIEVILLE, La. (WAFB) - Boaters have long shared concerns about the amount of trash and debris floating along the Amite River. On Saturday, August 10 those same boaters joined community members and volunteers to take matters into their own hands.
"It’s disheartening. I grew up out here and once upon a time it was a true sportsman’s paradise. Now, it’s like anytime you go out it’s just trash and litter everywhere,” said Nichole Montalbano, who volunteered to pick up debris Saturday.
“There is so much trash out there and it looks terrible, and we love our beautiful outdoors, so we want to try to keep it beautiful,” said Nichole Dickson who also volunteered to pick up debris.
Other volunteers say aesthetics play just a small part in the reason they came out Saturday. They also want to rid the waters of hidden hazards lurking beneath the surface.
“I can run over a beer can and that ain’t going to hurt me, but if I hit a tree stump or a refrigerator, that’s going to do some damage,” said Carlton Haycook.
Haycook and other volunteers say they have damaged their boats while riding in the Amite River. They’re fearful that a young person jet skiing or tubing out on the water may have a serious accident if the amount of clutter, which they describe as growing, isn’t addressed consistently.
“People just don’t think that when they put something near the river or near their drainage ditch by the road that ends up in the river when we have a significant rain. It’s kind of heart breaking. It tells me that people don’t care,” said Haycook.
Organizers say they estimate about 3-4 tons of debris and trash was removed.