Greenfield, MA – The Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) is hosting their 24th annual Source to Sea Cleanup throughout the month of September. This year, CRC is asking Cleanup participants and all who enjoy our rivers to join them in demanding an end to trashed rivers. You can join the effort by signing up for the Source to Sea Cleanup. And you can go online using #RiverWitness to help show the dirty truth of trash in our rivers and the need for trash solutions. Learn how you can get involved at ctriver.org/cleanup.
“After cleaning up 1,167 tons of trash over the past 23 years it’s clear that repeated cleaning is not the solution to our trash problem,” says CRC Executive Director Andrew Fisk. “Consumers need to avoid single use items. And it’s time for the businesses who created and have been profiting from this trash to now help solve the problem through fundamental redesign of how our products are made and disposed of.” CRC insists we need to redesign our economy so there isn’t waste in the first place and that it is time businesses step up to voluntarily do the right thing by offering more sustainable, reusable, recyclable, and compostable options. “As individuals, we should always properly dispose of and recycle our waste,” continues Fisk. “And it’s time that corporations also take responsibility for their role in trashing our rivers.”
“We invite everyone to join us in telling businesses we expect better,” says Stacey Lennard, CRC Cleanup coordinator. “You can help show the problem to help solve the problem. Take a photo, video, or make art inspired by river beauty or river pollution. Get creative, use #RiverWitness, and tag CRC on social media.” CRC will add your images to an online mosaic photo display and video. Select images will be used to call on decision-makers to enact trash solutions to keep trash out of our rivers. “Show them this is important to you. Speak up for your rivers,” says Lennard.
We, as consumers, have been trained by businesses to rely on unnecessary disposable and single-use plastics. Meanwhile, businesses and manufacturers are profiting by making these products out of cheap, petroleum-based plastic that is harmful and doesn’t easily break down. Producers and manufacturers then pass the responsibility and disposal costs for the products they make to the consumers, which lead to litter and polluted rivers.
According to CRC, the best way businesses and corporations can cut down on their products becoming litter in our rivers is to offer more reusable options, like coffee mugs and drink cups. Additionally, bio-plastics are emerging as a promising alternative to plastic made from fossil fuels. There are plenty of eco-friendly cups and dishware items on the market that businesses should be using. These new plastics are compostable, break down in the marine environment as food, are made from waste, and are made with less energy and environmental impact than traditional petroleum plastics.
“We all have a responsibility to solve this problem,” says Fisk. “We are responsible as consumers to make good choices in how we purchase and dispose of products. Manufacturers, businesses, and government are also responsible and it’s time they do their part. By working together, we can make a real difference for our rivers. These ideas are going to take time, decades even. And we’ll keep at it as long as it takes. But our rivers need change now.”
The Source to Sea Cleanup is a 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 tons of trash along rivers, streams, parks, boat launches, trails and more. For more information or to register for the event, visit ctriver.org/cleanup.
Eversource, USA Waste & Recycling, and All American Waste are the Lead Source to Sea Cleanup sponsors. “Sustaining the environment for generations to come drives our decisions as a family and company,” says Frank M. Antonacci, COO of USA Waste & Recycling. “The Source to Sea Cleanup is very special to us – our family of employees and their families participate in this cleanup year after year and we donate dumpster services to ensure the waste collected is disposed of in a responsible manner. CRC does a great job organizing and we are proud to be a part of it!”
“We take great care to promote conservation and protection of wildlife, natural and cultural resources and strive to foster the long-term vitality of the land we manage,” said Eversource Manager of Sustainability Clare Connolly. “Working with the CRC at their Source to Sea Cleanup event helps to sustain healthy rivers and protect important natural resources.”
Since 1952, Connecticut River Conservancy has been the voice for the Connecticut River watershed, from source to sea. CRC collaborates with partners across four states to protect and advocate for your rivers and educate and engage communities. They bring people together to prevent pollution, improve habitat, and promote enjoyment of your rivers. Healthy rivers support healthy economies. To learn more about CRC, or to make a contribution to help protect your rivers, visit ctriver.org.