River geo-trashing gets notice on local TV news

A May story on KARE-11 news acquainted viewers with the unique river cleanup work of Mike Anderson of Crystal. The segment showcased the science of “geo-trashing” — the process of geo-tagging large trash so that it can be located and cleaned up.

Using a GPS device, Anderson marks the location of larger debris and takes a photo of it. He then posts it on his web site. As KARE-11 reported, he then has the tools to attract volunteers to the spot. “We can send somebody to exactly where the garbage is,” declared Anderson. He has spotted safes, barrels, concrete, and a washing machine.

A typical posting by Mike reads: “An alarming amount of scrap iron and construction materiel has been discarded on the banks of the Mississippi in this area. But logically, this should come as NO surprise: These types of debris are extremely heavy, and the price of trash disposal is often set on a ‘cost per pound’ basis. So, wrongful dumpers have chosen an alternative which might be less expensive to them, at the cost (to the rest of us) of blighting one of the nation’s most historic waterways. Again, the irony here is that so much of this material is capable of being recycled.”

In the summer of 2007, Mike and his wife sold their motorboat, replacing it with a canoe and a kayak. The change put them on less traveled rivers and backwaters. “It was really nice to get reacquainted with the water — and all of the natural wonders that drink from it,” Mike says in his blog.

“Glorious as it all was, there were times when the beauty was interrupted by the thoughtless pollution of people who had passed through, leaving their litter (or worse) behind — I plan to pick some garbage out of a few rivers. And I hope to develop some ideas that encourage — and make it easier — for others to do the same.”

Check out Mike’s web site at: CleanUpTheRiver.com

View the KARE 11 video clip and read the story at the KARE 11 story page.