In an effort to clean up the shorelines of the New River on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, the Single Marine Program (SMP) challenged Marines, Sailors and civilians to join in an organized effort to dispose of washed up trash on the banks of the river starting at Gottschalk Marina, July 25.

More than 60 service members and civilians from across the base showed up to support a cleaner MCB Camp Lejeune.

“Having an event like this, a clean-up and being involved with the SMP is vital to the marina itself,” said Sammy Landrum, the Gottschalk Marina manager. “Not only is it good for the river and the area, but for the wildlife dwelling in the water.”

Volunteers paddled their way down the river banks utilizing kayaks and canoes collecting waste and debris. More than 30 bags were filled with objects ranging from tires and car bumpers, to beer cans and cigarette butts.

“Many Marines cleaning up one lake will not have a direct drastic impact on the world, but every wave starts with a ripple,” said Zeelie Scruggs, a Marine volunteer with the SMP. “Cleaning up the shore for two hours was enough to keep some trash out of the river, out of aquatic life and wildlife.”

According to Sgt. Maj. Charles A. Metzger, sergeant major for Marine Corps Installations East-Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, there were two teams who stood out as “winners” of the cleanup with the most debris hulled in: Sgt. Jesse McCormick and Lance Cpl. Braidon Roberts with 2nd Maintenance Battalion, and Sgt. Taylor Proffitt and Sgt. C Olson with 2nd Intelligence Battalion.

“More is always better than less,” Metzger said.

Before carelessly tossing another item out the window or looking the other way when someone else does, consider the impact you can make on the environment by recycling, reusing and disposing of waste properly.