FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Local Source to Sea River Cleanups Keep Oceans Cleaner

Greenfield, MA – Would you box up your trash and ship it to the other side of the globe? If not then you should think twice about litter too. Trash has now reached every corner of the globe by moving along waterways and transported by ocean currents[i]. But thanks to the hard work of local Source to Sea Cleanup volunteers, local river trash will never have the chance to add to this global pollution problem. Thousands of Source to Sea Cleanup volunteers head out every fall to remove trash along rivers, streams, parks, boat launches, trails and more in all four states of the Connecticut River basin (NH, VT, MA, CT). Organized by the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC), the 20th annual Source to Sea Cleanup will be held Friday & Saturday, September 23 & 24. For more information, visit www.ctriver.org/cleanup. To find a cleanup group near you, click on ‘Join a Group.’

As of 2015, scientists determined there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean[ii]. By some estimates, ocean trash covers as much as 40% of the ocean surface[iii]. “The Connecticut River is New England’s largest river and provides more than 70% of the fresh water to the Long Island Sound,” says CRWC Executive Director Andrew Fisk. “By keeping trash cleaned up here at home, we keep it out of Long Island Sound, the Atlantic Ocean, and the large floating garbage patches around the world. We all have a responsibility to solve this problem—individuals, manufacturers, businesses, and government.” In that spirit, CRWC partners with a variety of organizations to combat trash on a regional scale including: Watersheds United Vermont, Save the Sound, the International Coastal Cleanup and American Rivers’ National River Cleanup.

“Healthy rivers are so important because they contribute to our local economies and to the beauty and enjoyment of our communities,” says Alicea Charamut, CRWC River Steward and Cleanup organizer. “Over the past 20 years, cleanup volunteers have removed more than 947 tons of trash just from the Connecticut River basin. The Source to Sea Cleanup is making our corner of the planet just that much cleaner.” Cleaner rivers support healthier wildlife, better recreation, and stronger economies. CRWC encourages you to join the 20th annual Source to Sea Cleanup to make a difference in your town. Or make a difference each day from home by using re-usable water bottles, coffee mugs and shopping bags to reduce waste. Anyone with questions or trash tips can contact CRWC’s Cleanup Coordinator Alicea Charamut at cleanup@ctriver.org.

“Generous financial support from lead sponsors— NRG Energy’s Middletown Generating Station, Pratt & Whitney, TransCanada, and Whistler — enables us to continue growing the Source to Sea Cleanup so that it has an impact beyond the two days of cleanup,” notes Fisk. “Our goal is to keep trash and tires from getting in our rivers in the first place and to eventually put ourselves out of the business of cleaning up our rivers.” CRWC collects data from cleanup groups about the amount and types of trash they find. This data supports CRWC’s year-round advocacy efforts and informs policies and legislation that will keep waste out of our rivers.

“NRG is pleased to a lead sponsor for the Source to Sea Campaign for 12th year,” notes David Gaier, Senior Director, Communications and Spokesman, NRG Energy. “And our Middletown Station team of some 15 volunteers, led by NRG’s Keith Shortsleeve, again looks forward to making a positive difference by cleaning up Dart Island and the surrounding Connecticut River shoreline.”

“We are proud to partner with CRWC for the Source to Sea Cleanup for the 11th year,” said Brandon Kibbe, Land Agent for TransCanada.  “With nearly 30,000 acres of conserved property, hundreds of miles of shoreline, and dozens of public recreation areas along the Connecticut and Deerfield Rivers, we appreciate the need to work together to protect these special resources for future generations.”

“Pratt & Whitney is proud to support environmental initiatives in the areas where our employees work and live,” said Pratt & Whitney Environment, Health & Safety Vice President Lisa Szewczul. “Collaborating with Source to Sea Cleanup is another example of our company’s long-standing commitment to helping preserve the environment through sustainable products, operations and initiatives.”

The Connecticut River Watershed Council works to protect the watershed from source to sea. As stewards of this heritage, we celebrate our four-state treasure and collaborate, educate, organize, restore and intervene to preserve its health for generations to come. Our work informs our vision of economic and ecological abundance. To learn more about CRWC, or to join the effort and help protect our rivers, visit www.ctriver.org.

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[i] The Guardian. “Plastic debris reaches Southern Ocean, previously thought to be pristine.” TheGuardian.com. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/sep/27/plastic-debris-southern-ocean-pristine (accessed July 26, 2016)

[ii] Parker, Laura. “Ocean Trash: 5.25 Trillion Pieces and Counting, but Big Questions Remain.” NationalGeographic.com. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150109-oceans-plastic-sea-trash-science-marine-debris/ (accessed July 26, 2016)

[iii] Moore, Charles J. “Choking the Oceans With Plastic.” NYTimes.com. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/26/opinion/choking-the-oceans-with-plastic.html?_r=0 (accessed July 26, 2016)