CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mecklenburg County’s greenways will look a little cleaner Saturday night after hundreds of volunteers spent the day pulling trash out of local creeks.

The annual “Big Spring Clean” clears litter, as well as picking up bigger objects.

This shopping cart was just one of the surprises volunteers found, along with an old oil drum, cable reel and lots of garbage that had been dumped illegally.

The county’s stormwater services sponsor the annual event because cleaner creeks aren’t just nicer to look at -- a lot of living creatures, including us, depend on clean water.

“It takes very little oil to pollute tens of thousands of gallons of water," says Mark Boone of Meck Storm Water Services. "So if you think about it, any litter that ends up in the system is bad for not only the drinking water but for the wildlife, and the fish and people swim and eat the fish, and it’s bad for everybody.”

Last year, The Big Spring Clean and other neighborhood cleanups netted 26 tons of trash.