On Saturday September 27, 2014 Ponchatoula High School's FFA students volunteered to help with the ongoing trash problem that is affecting Ponchatoula Creek and the Natalbany River. In just under four hours twelve students along with six chaperones filled up two trailers that were provided by the Tangipahoa Parish full of garbage. The items the FFA found included fourteen tires, two refrigerators, two very large TVs, and over thirty bags of trash.
The movement has been headed by Captain Brandon Hayes and his fiancé, Meghan Giblon, of the United States Coast Guard. In their off time the couple organize cleaning events and regularly visit Ponchatoula Creek and the Natalbany River to clean all of the trash that is continually accumulating on its banks.
"We are just trying to get the word out and get as many people involved as we can. This is a huge problem and it can't keep on being ignored. We are very grateful for all the help we are receiving from the FFA students, so much more can be cleaned up with their help," says Captain Hayes.
"The trash comes from people dumping straight bags of household trash into the creek but most of it comes from throwing trash out of their vehicles or in parking lots. The trash then gets washed into the ditches and then the creeks whenever it rains and all of the trash flows into Ponchatoula Creek. If you have ever driven down Bankston Road off of HWY 190 you can see all the trash that is in the ditch. It is really quite sad," says Giblon.
Ponchatoula FFA member and Senior at Ponchatoula High Johanna Puls says “It felt great to help clean up our water ways! It was shocking to see all the house hold trash and debris in such a beautiful creek. This trip inspired us to keep our waterways beautiful. It was also proves the impact our community members on our local environment.
The FFA is planning to be a part of more clean ups and will help educate their peers about where their trash is actually going.