JOPLIN, Mo. — When the temperatures rise, so does the number of people jumping into area rivers and streams.
But do you know what you’re jumping into?
“There’s a bottle right there – ugh – I don’t get it,” said Carl Romesburg, SWMO Stream Team Assistant.
194 tons – that’s how much trash the “Missouri Stream Team” collected last year alone.
Pollution like that can bring bacteria and other harmful substances to the waterways — not to mention what a broken bottle can do to an unprotected foot.
That’s where the “Stream Team” members come in.. doing what they do, keeping local streams safe.
“It isn’t just about the cut, it’s about the infection that comes with the cut, so the dangers of all that,” said Romesburg.
Romesburg says he also recommends bringing a trash bag with you to the stream, leaving the glass bottles at home, and washing off your boat or canoe after every use.
This all plays a role in protecting the wildlife.
“A lot of them are really sensitive to pollution, that could be lack of oxygen, that could be some type of chemicals or nutrient overload. Lots of issues can affect our bugs, so we go to them first and see what they have to say about it,” said Romesburg.
Romesburg has been doing this for 17 years, and he says he could never do it alone.
“Let me just tell you, last year alone we had 69,159 volunteer service hours, that was volunteers giving up their time to come and pick up trash or to monitor the stream’s health, plant trees, all kinds of little projects we have,” said Romesburg.
Romesburg says anyone can start a local stream team.