Organizers say each year, they collect five to 10 tons of trash out of the river and along the shore.
"The more people come out, the more debris is picked up," said Wayne Heckford with Keep Ouachita Beautiful. "It's a wonderful time to get that much stuff out of the river."
Heckford said litter has been a constant problem, especially when hazardous items like cigarette butts or motor oil get in the water and poisons wildlife.
"Many times in the past, we've had mercury warnings, that's old batteries that have been thrown into the water," he said.
In the past, volunteers have found items like shopping carts, TVs, and plastic barrels dumped into the river.
"It's a safety hazard, in terms of snagging a boat, damaging a motor," said Greg Smith with Keep Monroe Beautiful.
At the clean up, organizers will provide tools and trash bags to pick up litter. Be prepared by wearing long pants and boots, and bring gloves for your hands.
Volunteers will be working along the shores, and boaters are encouraged to hit the waters and collect trash. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will send a small barge up and down the river from Sterlington to Lazarre Point in West Monroe, where boaters can drop off trash.
Smith says littering is a convenience factor for some, but should be a matter of awareness and preparation.
"People throw things away because they don't want to hold onto it just a little while longer, particularly in cars," he said. "If you hold on a little bit longer, you'll pull up to a place with a trash can where you can get rid of it."
Organizers say these clean-ups have helped keep the litter problem from getting out of control.
"Hopefully over the years, two things will happen: it'll decrease because fewer things are being put into the river. And also because we've picked up everything," Smith said.
The clean up begins bright and early Saturday at 9 a.m. and lasts until 1 p.m. Life jackets will be provided to keep everyone safe and free t-shirts will be given to volunteers.
You can sign up the morning of the event at these staging locations for the clean-up:
- Lazarre Park Beach in West Monroe
- Forsythe Park Boat Launch and Moon Lake Recreation Area in Monroe
- Recreation Area at Ouachita River in Sterlington