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Join the Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative

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Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative

An effort has started in the Quad Cities to track and reduce plastic pollution in the Mississippi River. Friday, local leaders asked residents to join the Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative.

Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher is a member of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, which is sponsoring similar programs from Minneapolis down to New Orleans. He says plastic waste is an increasingly urgent problem because 20 million people depend on the river for their drinking water.

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"Our fresh water economy on the Mississippi generates over 450 billion dollars in annual revenue. Drinking water security, manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism, all depend upon clean, fresh water."

To join the initiative, local residents can download a special tracker app for their phone.

"This app, which I am encouraging everyone in the region to download, will help us to create a plastic pollution map, identify sources of plastic pollution, and help us to find new solutions."

To kick off the Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative in the Quad Cities Friday, Mayor Gallagher threw a "tracker" into the river, a small plastic bottle with a GPS that will show how plastic waste moves in the river.