Renew Our Rivers efforts continue to make an impact on Alabama waterways

Renew Our Rivers efforts have pulled thousands of pounds of waste from Alabama waterways.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 3:25 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2023 at 7:54 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste have been removed from waterways across Alabama thanks to the efforts of Renew Our Rivers.

What started as a community river cleanup organized by Alabama Power employees, has transformed into one of the nation’s largest river cleanups.

“From that year forward, it started expanding all around the state, and even to some of the other southeastern states within our operating company footprint,” said Mike Clelland, an Environmental Specialist at Alabama Power.

Renew Our Rivers just wrapped up its 24th year and continues to make an impact. This year, over 2,900 volunteers participated in 31 different cleanup events across the state.

The problem was recognized years ago about there being trash, but then we needed a solution. Well, the solution is awareness,” Clelland said. “It’s very important to get the community involved, and especially the younger people.”

In all, they were able to remove over 246,000 pounds of trash from Alabama waterways.

“People really can’t believe it, especially some of the items we get,” he said. “When we pull out water heaters from a house out of the river, people are like, why in the world? How does this even get here?”

Clelland says these cleanups help our the environment in ways that are unmeasurable.

“As far as the wildlife, their ecosystem will be altered with that amount of material building up. A little bit you may not notice, but if all of this would have still remained throughout the watersheds in this state, it would have made a huge difference,” said Clelland.

Next year, Renew Our Rivers will celebrate 25 years. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, click here.

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