By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — All across the country, tons of plastic, styrofoam and garbage were pulled up and out of public lands.

Mike Schuh reports some of the 180,000 volunteers nationwide were found here in Baltimore.

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It’s not only ugly, trash hurts these wetlands.

“One of the bad things about plastic is that it is forever. Every piece of plastic that we’ve made as humans is still in existence today,” said National Aquarium Executive Director John Racanelli.

So Saturday, nearly 200 volunteers left the beaten path and went into the waters south of Ft. McHenry.

“We are picking up trash by the Chesapeake Bay and trying to make it cleaner,” said Katy Nardolillo.

“It was definitely overwhelming,” said Nicole Dowling.

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“Sadly, there is a lot of material. As volunteers, we have a lot of job security,” Racanelli said.

They are part of a nationwide volunteer army who spent the day cleaning up public places.

“It’s exciting to see all these people out here who care about the environment and wanted to make a difference and there was so much trash to see it getting cleaned up,” Dowling said.

Because this is an urban cleanup, perhaps it’s not surprising that they’re finding a lot of used syringes. So much junk came out of the marsh that not one but two Bobcats were needed to bring it ashore.

“We have a duty to use that to the benefit of the planet to helping people to understand that they have a part in the natural system that gives us life and keeps us healthy and thriving,” Racanelli said.

One day of cleanup is a reminder we should try to keep this stuff off the streets so it doesn’t ever get into the marsh.

“I hope the day comes when we don’t have to do this,” Racanelli said.

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Another public garden in Baltimore near North Avenue and Greenmount was also cleaned up Saturday by volunteers.