AUSTIN, Texas - More than a thousand volunteers participated in the 25th annual Lake Travis Cleanup Sunday morning. Some volunteers collected litter on land, while others dove for trash.
The event, hosted by the Colorado River Alliance and Travis County Parks, registered 1,200 people. Organizers say that makes it the largest on record.
The reservoir is a popular spot for recreation, and also one of the sites the City of Austin sources drinking water from.
Max Chmiel, 9, participated in the event with his father and big brother Christian, 10.
"It's kind of selfish, not to just throw trash on the ground and let an animal kill themselves. You're eventually just killing an animal.... And you're kind of hurting the environment too." said Chmiel, picking up trash.
Travis County's Chief Park Ranger Dan Chapman says most of the litter he sees is accidental, but not all of it.
"Sometimes people are purposefully dumping things that they don't want to haul off to the dump for various reasons, so we find refrigerators, mattresses, hazardous chemicals." he explained.
"Really?" said Chmiel, indignant. "Are you just too lazy to go and pick it up or do you just feel like you don't have to pick it up?"
Scott Sticker of the Colorado River Alliance said a jetski and a diamond wedding band were the two most interesting items found during the cleanup.
Anyone who recognizes the wedding band is urged to contact the Colorado River Alliance. If no one claims the band, it will remain on display and be used for "educational purposes."
Zebra mussels were found on many of the items recovered. The invasive mussels were discovered in Lake Travis in 2017. Sticker says the mussels found will be left in the sun for three days, to ensure they are dead.