Plastic Ocean Project collects nearly 500 pounds of trash on first day out

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington environmental non-profit was out on Sunday doing its part to help keep a stretch of road free from litter.

Trash and debris have been a problem on highway 421 in New Hanover County for years — especially off the Interstate 140 interchange.

Lisa Andree works with Plastic Ocean Project.

“It’s close to the landfill and during the week lots of vehicles come with construction debris,” Andree said.

The non-profit has officially adopted the two-mile stretch of Highway 421 that leads to the New Hanover County landfill.

“And we find all sorts of things, lots of packing peanuts are what we found today (Sunday), and they are Styrofoam and it all ends up in the river, eventually,” said Andree.

The debris pollutes waterways, threatens livestock, wildlife, and marine life. The trash also causes storm drains to get clogged up.

Curtis Downey appreciates nature and his community – and wants to give back every chance he gets.

“I love helping the environment, and also we have a good community and I do a lot of volunteer with Plastic Ocean Project and Cape Fear River Watch, it’s one of my favorite things to do besides bird watching,” Downey said.

The group collected nearly 500 pounds of trash that included plastic bottles, wrappers, and construction debris within the three hours the group was out on Sunday.

“Pretty much if anyone wants to volunteer with any of these organizations, it’s always fun,” he said.  “It’s more of a community thing and it’s always fun to be around people that have the same interests.

A New Hanover Sheriff’s Deputy has been assigned to patrol this stretch of road and hand out tickets to private or commercial vehicles that fail to secure their loads.

It’s all in an effort to help stop debris from ending up on the roadway.

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