Cleaning the runway

Nearly 100 workers at the world's busiest airport are volunteering their time to pick up trash that could be dangerous when planes land and take off.

On Wednesday, the fifth runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was closed for about 30 minutes so employees could look for debris. According to the airport website, the fifth runway opened in 2006 and averages more than 100,000 landings and takeoffs per year.

Among the junk collected: pebbles, washers, ball bearings and small bolts. Damage from such debris is estimated to cost the aerospace industry $4 billion a year. Hartsfield-Jackson performs daily inspections on all its runways.

The airport serves more than 94 million passengers annually with nonstop service to more than 150 U.S. destinations and nearly 70 international destinations in more than 45 countries.

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Here is a collection of photos by Associated Press photographer David Goldman. 

An airport employee walks by tire marks from landing planes on the tarmac of the fifth runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to clear debris, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Atlanta. The annual Foreign Object Debris Walk drew approximately 100 airline and airport employees volunteering to find and remove debris that could be hazardous to aircraft. (AP Photo/David Goldman) 

Mike Stewart, an airport operations representative, drives down the fifth runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as employees clear debris off the tarmac, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Robert O'Keefe, general manager at Air Serve Corporation, inspects the fifth runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to clear debris, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Atlanta. The annual Foreign Object Debris Walk drew approximately 100 airline and airport employees volunteering to find and remove debris that could be hazardous to aircraft. The resulting damage from foreign object debris is estimated to cost the aerospace industry $4 billion a year. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Ball bearings and pebbles sit in the bottom of the garbage bag of Delta employee James Parrish as he collects debris off the tarmac at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman) 

Airport employees Joe Cook Jr., right, bends down to pick up a piece of debris as Chris Davis, left, and Justin Deadwyler look on while walking the fifth runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Atlanta. The resulting damage from foreign object debris is estimated to cost the aerospace industry $4 billion a year. (AP Photo/David Goldman) 

Robert O'Keefe, general manager at Air Serve Corporation, shows off a washer he found while inspecting the fifth runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to clear debris, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman) 

An airport employee puts on rubber gloves before walking the fifth runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, to clear debris, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman) 

An employee picks up debris off a cargo taxi area at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Airport and airline employees walk the fifth runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to clear debris as the sun rises, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Atlanta. The annual Foreign Object Debris Walk drew approximately 100 airline and airport employees volunteering to find and remove debris that could be hazardous to aircraft. The resulting damage from foreign object debris is estimated to cost the aerospace industry $4 billion a year. (AP Photo/David Goldman) 

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An airplane takes off as airport and airline employees clear debris off the tarmac at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Atlanta. Airport officials closed Runway 10L/28R for about 30 minutes to enable employees to search for and remove any debris. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

 

Opening text from the AP story, WORKERS CLEAR DEBRIS FROM BUSY RUNWAY,by DAVID GOLDMAN. 

Follow David Goldman on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/DavidGoldmanAP

 

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