RALEIGH -- Triangle residents are lending a hand this weekend to clean up a local river bed. It's all part of the 10th annual Neuse River Cleanup. More than 500 volunteers spent their Saturday sprucing up the area to keep the river clean.
It's an effort to keep nature looking its best.
“It's about people rolling up their sleeves and getting muddy for a cause,” said Alissa Bierma from the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation.
Broken glass, fishing line and empty bottles are just some of the items that dot the Neuse River shoreline.
“We looked under one tree and found 20 beer bottles and cans,” said volunteer Ryan Lazenby.
However, after this weekend, that trash will be a thing of the past as volunteers from Raleigh to New Bern pitch in to clean it all up.
“We have sites basin wide now. It covers almost 200 miles of river,” said Bierma.
For 10 years, the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation has held this clean up to encourage the community to pitch in with maintaining the shorelines. Although the organization has seen a dramatic decline in litter, pollution is still a problem.
At just nine years old the Velazco girls have developed a soft spot for wildlife.
“It makes me feel happier when I clean up because we're helping the Earth. We love taking care of the the Earth,” said Mya Velazco.
They know a filthy river hurts both animals and visitors.
“It's better to clean up the Earth so you don't just have litter and stuff all over the place,” added Mia Velazco.
As for the fight against litter, the foundation says spreading awareness is key.
“Our communities don't really understand what's in their own backyard,” Bierma said.
The Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation is a nonprofit organization that has been dedicated to the preservation of the Neuse River basin for more than 30 years.