Greenfield, MA – The Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC), formerly Connecticut River Watershed Council, hosts their 21st annual Source to Sea Cleanup on Friday & Saturday, September 22 & 23. After more than two decades of cleaning up our rivers, CRC continues to work toward solutions to the persistent issue of trash pollution. The Source to Sea Cleanup is a two-day river cleanup coordinated by CRC in all four states of the 410+ mile Connecticut River basin (NH, VT, MA, CT). Each fall, thousands of volunteers remove about 50 tons of trash along rivers, streams, parks, boat launches, trails and more. For more information or to register for the event, visit www.ctriver.org/cleanup.
In addition to annually coordinating volunteers to clean up trash in our rivers, CRC is focusing on pollution prevention. “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,” says Alicea Charamut, CRC River Steward and Cleanup organizer. CRC collects data from Source to Sea Cleanup groups about the amount and types of trash collected. This data supports CRC’s year-round advocacy efforts and informs policies and legislation that will keep waste out of our rivers.
CRC is working to:
- Eliminate reasons for people to illegally dump trash. CRC works with river states on extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems that hold producers responsible for free and easy disposal of items like tires, paint, mattresses, batteries, electronics and appliances.
- Support laws that keep trash out of our rivers. CRC’s philosophy is to make recycling easy, effective, and accessible; to dis-incentivize plastic bags and Styrofoam, especially Styrofoam dock supports in favor of enclosed foam or non-foam dock materials; and to incentivize recycling of aluminum, plastic and glass through Bottle Bills.
- Spread the word about ways you can reduce waste. “The biggest change happens when every single one of us make small changes in our daily lives to reduce waste,” says Charamut. She suggests carrying a re-usable water bottle, using re-usable shopping bags, or bringing a re-usable coffee mug as easy ways to reduce waste.
“A massive tire dump along the Deerfield River in Greenfield, MA is just one example of how trash is a major problem for the health and cleanliness of our rivers,” notes Charamut. “But small trash items like plastic and Styrofoam are also a major concern.” CRC began working to clean up the Greenfield tire dump in 2014 and is continuing efforts this year. Single-use plastic bags, micro-beads, and Styrofoam pieces are too small or break down too quickly to be cleaned up easily. Wildlife mistakes this trash for food and become sick or dies from eating it. Or the trash makes its way to the ocean and contributes to huge floating garbage patches. To date, Source to Sea Cleanup volunteers have kept more than 997 tons of trash from polluting our rivers and oceans.
“We all have a responsibility to solve this problem—individuals, manufacturers, businesses, and government,” says Andrew Fisk, CRC Executive Director. “By working together, we can make a real difference for our rivers.” If you know of a trash site in need of cleanup help, you are encouraged to report it to CRC via their Source to Sea Cleanup website: www.ctriver.org/cleanup.
Lead Source to Sea Cleanup sponsors—Eversource and Tighe & Bond—are pleased to support CRC’s efforts. “Sponsor support enables us to continue growing the Source to Sea Cleanup so that it has an impact all year long,” notes Fisk.
Since 1952, Connecticut River Conservancy has been the voice for the Connecticut River watershed, from source to sea. We collaborate with partners across four states to protect and advocate for your rivers and educate and engage communities. We bring people together to prevent pollution, improve habitat, and promote enjoyment of your river and its tributary streams. Healthy rivers support healthy economies. To learn more about CRC, or to make a contribution to help protect the Connecticut River, visit www.ctriver.org.