SUDBURY -- Junction creek is 52 km long and runs through the heart of downtown Sudbury.

On Sunday a small group of volunteers had the dirty job of cleaning litter from the waterway.

From shopping carts, to needles, and a lot of plastic, it's all part of an effort to restore the creek that has been badly damaged by pollution and often used as a dumping ground.

Dressed in hip waders, Miranda Virtanen was in the middle of the creek pulling out garage.

"I have got a net full of stuff that I have collected here as you can see the Styrofoam is the most. Plastic bags, some water bottles as well, little tiny pieces of plastic fragments. Some lighters, yah you name it. it's in here there are some shoes that we found, pop cans," said Miranda Virtanen, the executive director of the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee.

Several needles were also found floating in the water.

"In different areas of the creek it's more of a hazard than others and because they float when there is the log jams, they tend to accumulate in those areas," said Virtanen.

This summer the Committee is running a free youth program called Empowering Youth for Junction Creek for teens ages 13-18.

"We have a guided hike with a wildlife naturalist who is going to teach us a little bit about the history of the creek and some of the ecology," said Lindsay Potts a Wildlife Naturalist with the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee.

"We have in stream water sampling with a water technician. Youth are going to get to participate in cross cultural teachings and learnings."

The motto of the committee is ‘creating hope through environmental restoration.

"Part of the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee's efforts is restoring the creek so that it is a healthy ecosystem and we bring back that biodiversity because Greater Sudbury in it's entirety has suffered a lot of damage through historic logging and mining," said Virtanen.

Volunteers out Sunday said it feels good to do something green.

"Sometimes environmental issues can feel very overwhelming but the best place to start is really in your own backyard and so one piece of trash at a time," said Potts.

In the past 20 years, the committee said over 84,000 kilograms of garbage has been cleaned out of the waterway and it's hopeful one day trash booms will be installed in sections of the creek.