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Volunteers clean debris from the Tombigbee Rivers

DEMOPOLIS &8212; More than 40 community members volunteered Thursday for the first day of the local cleanup effort that operates under the umbrella of the Renew Our Rivers campaign.

Volunteers arrived at the Demopolis City Landing as early as 6:30 a.m. Thursday for the first day of the venture, which will run through Saturday. By 11 a.m., the time when cleanup crews typically begin pulling in for lunch, items like car batteries, tires, lumber scraps, a vacuum cleaner, a lawn mower and even a decrepit boat dock had already been retrieved from the Tombigbee River and its banks.

The initiative was initially launched by Alabama Power, beginning as Renew the Coosa. It has since spread to a regional beautification effort that touches many of the southeastern states.

The local effort is aided by Cemex, who, McCants reports, annually removes considerable amounts of material from the river in addition to incinerating the tires that are recovered.

Additionally, the effort&8217;s focus has been helped by the Demopolis Yacht Basin, the City of Demopolis and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps&8217; annual National Public Lands Day is being observed Saturday in conjunction with the final day of Renew Our Rivers.

The three-day event annually sees an average of nearly 200 volunteers. Organizers hope to be close to that number again this year, anticipating a boost from Demopolis City School students who are out of class today.

The cleanup effort today will begin between 7 and 7:30 a.m., lasting until approximately 3 p.m. Saturday volunteers will work from 8 a.m. until noon.