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A Memphis lake cleanup project removes 30,000 pounds of garbage, with more to go

McKellar lake is in Memphis, and it feeds the Mississippi River. More than 18 million people get their water supply from the Mississippi River.
Credit: Living Lands and Waters

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Living Lands and Waters (LLW) non-profit organization partners with college students all over the country through its Alternative Spring Break program to complete its yearly McKellar Lake trash and waste cleanup.

Although some may not know, McKellar lake is in Memphis, and it feeds into the Mississippi River. According to National Park Service, more than 18 million people get their water supply from the Mississippi river.

In just two short weeks, LLW Alternative Spring Break program and its 40 student volunteers have helped remove over 30,000 pounds of garbage from McKellar lake, with more to go. The cleanup crew will complete its final cleanup day on Friday, March 25.

Credit: Living Lands and Waters

“The program is passionate about helping the environment and the students who join us are even more passionate about helping our planet,” LLW Communications Specialist Callie Schaser said.

RELATED: How one group is helping others clean up Midtown Memphis storm damage

For people who live in a city like Memphis that is known for its clean tasting drinking water, it may be hard to believe that more than 2 million people live every day without access to safe water.

March 22 is recognized as World Water Day, a day to celebrate the worlds water supply, as well as a day to bring awareness to the lack thereof.

The Clean Water Act states that America’s waters should be “fishable and swimmable”. Waste filled waterways, make that nearly impossible.

The nonprofit’s President, Chad Pregracke, started waterway cleanups at 18-years-old, and now he leads a crew who shares his goal to protect, preserve and restore major rivers and waterways.

Credit: Living Lands and Waters

RELATED: Don't leave it be! Clearing leaves from drains prevents flooding

The LLW crew lives on the waters for six to nine months out of the year in a house that sits on a barge, which is a flat-bottomed boat used to carry heavy duty freight across waterways.

The non-profit said its crews have removed over 12,000,000 pounds of garbage, metal scraps, and tires from main waterways, including the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Illinois rivers over the years.

Credit: Living Lands and Waters

Anyone interested in making waterways safer and cleaner can visit Living Lands and Waters website to find out how.

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