VALDOSTA -- About 75 Keep Lowndes/Valdosta Beautiful volunteers pulled about three-quarters of a ton of garbage from One Mile Branch and Two Mile Branch on VSU's campus Saturday morning during the 13th Annual Rivers Alive event.

Aaron Strickland, executive director of Keep Lowndes/Valdosta Beautiful, said Rivers Alive is a yearly statewide initiative sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Program and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs' Keep Georgia Beautiful Program to clean up Georgia's water resources.

Strickland said next year they will probably pull the same amount of garbage at the two locations again.

"It's real frustrating," Strickland said. "People just need to try to be more responsible and put trash it places where it belongs. It just takes a few people not giving a damn. People need to realize this is the only environment we have. If you don't take care of it, it will turn around and bite you."

Strickland said Keep Lowndes/Valdosta Beautiful has picked up about 16 tons of trash during the last five Rivers Alive events he has been involved in.

Strickland said people would be surprised at the kind of stuff Keep Lowndes/Valdosta Beautiful finds.

He said they have found the usual stuff -- household items, metal pipes, clothing and toys -- but they have also found hypodermic needles, a handgun inside an open lockbox, an entire pickup truck's frame and a lost wallet containing identification and credit cards.

Strickland said the easiest way to stop pollution is just to put trash where it belongs.

"(Pollution is) just not a good thing," he said. "It's bad for the environment and it's bad for all of us. It's bad for some little kid walking through there and stepping on a hypodermic needle."

Strickland said it is frustrating picking up the same amount of trash year after year, but it helps the environment and it shows people the results of their pollution.

"We're trying to help people out and help the environment out," he said. "The best way to teach is to do. They'll see all of the work that goes into it and they'll tell their friends who will tell their friends."

Keep Lowndes/Valdosta Beautiful was going to clean up sites by the Little River and the Withlacoochee River but they were flooded.

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