'We make a huge difference': Chapel Hill man on a mission to pick up trash on Earth Day

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- You don't have to walk too far to find garbage at Jordan Lake.

"In the last seven days, I think I've collected five to six full pick up loads of trash," said Daniel Toben, who started collecting when he was a student at NC State.

He founded Earth Stewards, a group of students dedicated to cleaning local parks, then and dove back into the project two years ago.

He said since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Jordan Lake clean up groups have stopped, so Toben stepped up to fill in the gaps.

"People feel the need to be outside and a lot of people are feeling called to go to places like the lake or trails," he said.

He's taken his younger half-brother Ezra out to help and other groups in just the last two weeks.

After he picks up the trash, he takes it to the dumpster behind Top of Hill distillery in Chapel Hill and they handle the rest.

"It's really fulfilling and fun to do it with friends and stuff," Toben said, as he picked up on the 50th Earth Day. "We make a huge difference--the way the beaches look and any place we clean up afterward, it makes a huge difference."

Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.