SAN ANTONIO -- It's one of the city's most valuable resources but after every storm, the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River is a mess.
Saturday morning some hardy volunteers invested their time in taking out the trash in the area near Padre Park.
While he was wrestling with a large section of plastic irrigation piping that had washed onto the river bank, Alex Fiel said he picked up a lot of Styrofoam.
“I’m just trying to help clean up our city so we can enjoy and other people can enjoy the river," Fiel said.
Many of the volunteers said they play here along the hike and bike trail, so it seems natural to do a little work here too.
“It's really nice to come out here and ride your bike. Early in the morning, it's really peaceful. There are not too many people out here,” volunteer Bobby Pineda said.
Organizers said education is just as important as bagging up the garbage. They want people to learn to be good stewards of this amazing resource.
"We want people to properly dispose of their trash," River Authority spokesperson Yviand Serbones said.
Serbones said park users need to learn to be more mindful of the trash they leave behind.
"We want people to enjoy the park. They have a little picnic. They have their cups and their food and then they're done and they just walk away. That's not just going to stay there. It's going to end up in the river," Serbones said.
After working several hours and filling big bags full of trash, volunteer Stephanie Bartlett said food-related waste is one of the biggest challenges.
“The majority of my trash is all Styrofoam cups, Whataburger cups, McDonald’s cups, that's the biggest thing I'm finding,” Bartlett said.
Fiel said picking up so much floatable debris made him consider his own habits
"It kind of makes me want to stop using Styrofoam cups because of the amount of Styrofoam I see around here."
The River Authority hosts cleanup events for volunteers after every major storm event so if want to be involved in the next one, all you have to do is visit their website and sign up to be a Watershed Wise Warrior.
For more information, you can visit https://www.sara-tx.org/watershed-wise/watershed-wise-warriors/.
(© 2016 KENS)