Many volunteers came together Saturday morning to take part in the Fifth Annual Fall River Clean-Up that expanded throughout the San Marcos River watershed.
The San Marcos River is one of the most iconic attractions of San Marcos, as it provides many opportunities for fun through kayaking, tubing and more. For the river to keep being a central spot for our community, the river clean-ups that are organized by the city are very important.
“We all know that the river is the center point, spiritual, focal, and everything, for our community,” said Community Enhancement Initiatives Manager of San Marcos Amy Thomaides. “We have two major river cleanups in the year, and they really help bring the community together behind the common goal of keeping our river clean because we go beyond the river proper. We do the who San Marcos River watershed, so we are addressing the creek, the drainage ditches, and the streets that lead to the drainage.”
Cleaning up litter is not only important for the community of San Marcos, but also for the nature and wildlife that live in the city’s ecosystem. Specifically, microlitter, litter that has less than a 5 mm diameter, such as plastic wraps on straws, bottle caps, twist ties and more can harm the animals the most.
“The microlitter is one of the first things that will flow or blow into the river,” Thomaides said. “All of our wildlife can mistake it for food because they don’t know the difference, and when they digest it, it actually never leaves their system, so it is something that accumulates until it eventually kills them.”
Many of the Texas State organizations and students get involved with this cleanup. About 98% of the volunteers there are made up from Texas State’s community, Thomaides said. Volunteers cleaned up several areas of San Marcos over nine sub-watersheds of the San Marcos River watershed.
“To help the environment, the community can do exactly what we are doing. The city scheduled and planned this cleanup, multiple clubs showed up not just by the river,” said senior microbiology major and Volunteer Coordinator for the Microbiology Club Emma Huff. “Our club is designated for lower Purgatory Creek, so we go clean up the trail and things like that.”
The San Marcos community can also contribute to keeping the environment clean in their daily lives even if they did not attend this event by simply picking up trash and litter in the environment when they see it.
“It feels like if people could see the damages, that not necessarily that they are doing, but us humans are doing, then they would be like, ‘okay, we need to take this more serious and stop littering and pick up trash,’” said senior microbiology major and member of the Microbiology Club Kobe De La Paza. “If everyone in San Marcos does their part in throwing away trash properly and there’s no trash anywhere during park cleanups, this place would be ten times better than it is now.”
In 2020, about 2,355 pounds of trash was collected in the Fall River Clean-up, and the totals for this clean-up are currently being tallied up. Regardless of the number, the environment will continue to thrive as long the community works to keep it clean.
“People flourish when their environment is clean and beautiful. If you think about it in your home space, do you get anxious when you have a lot of clutter, dirty dishes, and a messy environment? Yes. I would assume so. That happens to me, but when my environment is clean and organized, I feel more productive, and I feel better about myself,” Huff said. “If you apply that to the bigger scene in your city or region, it is kind of the same effect. If you see beautiful trees and a beautiful environment, you are going to feel good about where you are living.”
To help out more with keeping the environment clean, visit https://sanmarcostx.gov/3308/River-Clean-Ups to volunteer for events like monthly hotspot clean-ups and Adopt-a-Spot and make sure to pick up litter when you see it.
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