JOPLIN, Mo. — Volunteers with an area attraction now have an idea of how much trash they’ve kept out of a local waterway.

“Everything is about water quality in our area, that’s one of our main missions down there,” said Michael Poiry, Volunteer, Wildcat Glades Friends Group.

It’s nothing new for volunteers with the Wildcat Glades Friends Group to pick up trash in Wildcat Park.

Michael Poiry, for one, was surprised to say the least when they started adding it up.

“We maintain five different trash cans to try and pick up trash off the beach, off the creek so it doesn’t end up in our water supply. This year we have accumulated a little over three tons of trash and disposed of, we have picked up about 300 pounds of aluminum cans,” Poiry said.

He says the proceeds from those recycled cans go toward funding the cost of educational classes offered by the group. That total is for the whole year, he was even more surprised to learn how much there was in just one week last summer, the Fourth of July.

“On Tuesday, we went down and recovered oh gosh, 8 or I think it was like 8 or 10 full bags of trash and we recovered something like 95 pounds of aluminum cans believe it or not,” he added.

So how did they come up with those figures?

“We take a full trash can, we weigh that, and then we calculate the number of sacks throughout the year, often times every Tuesday morning we’ll go through all the disposal areas, down there, the beach, the bluff, up there by the Castle Heights, and we’ll calculate the number of sacks and then do a rough estimate on how much trash we pick up,” Poiry said.

So why is the organization so adamant about keeping trash out of Shoal Creek? That body of water just happens to be the primary source of drinking water for residents of Joplin.