SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Big Sioux River Greenway Cleanup invited volunteers to help clean trash, recyclables and debris from the water and banks of the Big Sioux River around Sioux Falls on Saturday.
Volunteers came out to various parks in Sioux Falls along the Big Sioux River as part of the annual cleanup event. It’s normally held in the spring, but was postponed to the fall this year because of COVID-19.
“The past two years in 2019 and 2018, it was cancelled because of flooding, so we’re excited to be back for our fifth annual event this year,” City of Sioux Falls sustainability coordinator Holly Meier said.
The cleanup took place at nine different locations across town all along the Big Sioux River Greenway.
“We have volunteer coordinators and sponsor organizations who are located at each of those nine parks and trail locations and they are handing out the supplies for volunteers who come, including gloves and bags and maps of the area to clean up,” Meier said.
They had bags for both trash and recycling. When they were full, volunteers could just leave them along the bike trail and they would be picked up by city staff.
Overall, they have collected over 16,000 pounds of trash since the event began in 2014. Sioux Falls resident Josh Garner was among those volunteering today.
“I’ve always kind of had environmental issues in mind and it was important to me and I’ve been down here,” he said. “I’ve always lived in Sioux Falls, so I’ve been down here quite a bit, so I kind of know how it’s progressed over the years and stuff like that.”
“It’s really important for us as a community to be keeping our river clean,” Meier said. “A lot of people in our community value the river. It’s a huge part of our community life and so is the greenway, so anything that we can do to be keeping that river ecosystem clean, and the banks and the area around the river clean, that’s what we need to be doing, so really excited to be inviting the community to that.”
The event had multiple sponsors and an estimated 200 volunteers came out to help.