One hundred and fifty four people collected 89 big garbage bags full of trash in Red Deer on Sunday.
Volunteers helped clean up the shoreline during the annual Red Deer River Cleanup. They gathered at Kerry Wood Nature Centre before the groups headed out on Red Deer trails.
Tanya Wells, Kerry Wood Nature Centre and Historic Fort Normandeau special event co-ordinator and public programmer, said volunteers picked up garbage around various parts of the city. That includes areas around 52 Ave. and Taylor Drive, Kin Kanyon Parks and Trails, 48 Ave., 67 St., McKenzie Trails area, and near Kerry Wood Drive.
Volunteers, along with group leaders, were instructed to pick up small items, and to make a note of large items which will be collected by the City of Red Deer.
Wells said some unusual items found this year include a foam mattress with frame, a bicycle helmet in “perfectly good condition,” and keys.
Some other large items include sheets of plywood and grocery carts.
Wells said the annual cleanup is an important one to protect the wetlands and to keep the environment as clean as possible.
“If we’re constantly polluting our rivers and wetlands with say, plastic, the river can do some of the cleanup but not all of it, and it does effect the fish,” she said, referring to various fish species such as Brook and Brown Tout.
Wells said as a community we need to be more conscious about where we litter and encouraged people to be mindful while doing every day things like carrying a backpack to dispose off anything wasteful.
Before heading out for the cleanup, volunteers were given instructions to stay within 20 feet of trails on either sides, and to only pick up what they are comfortable with.
Those who were comfortable were given instructions on how to pick up needle debris along the trails.