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Volunteers collecting Mississippi River trash – for art

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Wednesday is a cleanup day along the Mississippi River, with volunteers collecting trash, especially where high water has dumped debris along sandbars, the Associated Press reports.

It’s the 22nd annual cleanup hosted by the state Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Padelford Packet Boat Company, Conservation Corps Minnesota and others.

All sorts of trash ends up in the Mississippi, including tires, cans, barrels, boat parts and furniture.

Prizes are awarded to volunteers who find the best trash. And an artist will be collecting the most interesting bits and transforming them into a sculpture for display at the Minnesota State Fair later this summer. Here are some of the past sculptures, some of which have found their way to permanent displays.

The DNR has more info on its Adopt-A-River program. Since 1989, about 3,200 cleanups with about 90,000 volunteers have been completed statewide, the DNR says. Volunteers have removed 76 million pounds of trash from 11,000 miles of Minnesota’s public waters, the DNR says.

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