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Volunteers gear up to “sweep” Pearl River of growing filth

Courtesy of TeleSouth Communications inc.

Cleanup teams dispatched from 30 locations along the Pearl River will take to the water this September in the first Pearl River Clean Sweep. The event will celebrate drinkable, swimmable, fishable water in 15 counties, 2 parishes, 2 states and over 490 miles of one of the state’s most valuable waterways.

The Pearl River’s proximity to the large urban center of Jackson, MS is having a detrimental impact on water quality due to the large amounts of plastic pollution entering the river through the city storm drains. A continuous stream of styrofoam and plastic trash is heading downriver to the Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. The magnitude of this pollution is unknown; however, a recent initiative by Take2Miss – a plastic pollution awareness initiative – has shown that this problem is common and worrisome on the watershed. Recently, closure of a popular fishing spot near the Ross Barnett Reservoir dam has been discussed due to the magnitude of littering.​

The Clean Sweep is an effort of the Pearl Riverkeeper project, a licensed member of Waterkeeper Alliance.

The Pearl Riverkeeper advocates for the health of a watershed that is being threatened in numerous ways. One threat to the Pearl River is a proposed “One Lake” project which would require the dredging of an additional 7 miles of the Pearl to widen, deepen and straighten the waterway for commercial development. Additional threats include point-source solution from the various industries located along the river and from the Jackson sewage treatment plant. Farming runoff and high sediment loads caused by construction and the logging industry further impact water quality on the river.

Pearl Riverkeeper will work on watershed-related issues from the headwaters of the Pearl River in Nanih Waiya to the Gulf Coast, including the Yockanookany, Strong and Bogue Chitto tributaries.

Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting over 300 Waterkeeper organizations around the world and focusing citizen advocacy on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. Waterkeepers patrol and protect more than 2.4 million square miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. www.waterkeeper.org.

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