Greenfield, MA – The Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) hosts their 24th annual Source to Sea Cleanup throughout September. CRC is asking you to sign up for the Source to Sea Cleanup and to help to spread the word about our plastic problem and the impact on our rivers. In addition to annually coordinating thousands of volunteers to clean up trash in our rivers, CRC continues to work toward solutions to the persistent problem of trash pollution. Plastic bags, bottles, and polystyrene (Styrofoam) are consistently the most found items during the Source to Sea Cleanup and these items never fully break down in the environment.
“You can help show the problem to help solve the problem,” says Stacey Lennard, CRC’s Cleanup coordinator. “Take a photo, video, or make art inspired by river beauty or river pollution. Get creative, use #RiverWitness, #PurgeThePlastic, 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. Learn more about how you can get involved at ctriver.org/cleanup.
According to CRC, the solution to this problem is to redesign our economy so there isn’t waste in the first place. “It’s time businesses step up to voluntarily do the right thing by offering more sustainable, reusable, recyclable, and compostable options,” says Andrew Fisk, CRC’s executive director. “Vermont and Connecticut are leading the way with their recent state-wide bans on single-use plastics. This is particularly important due to China’s recent import restrictions on plastic waste. The cost of plastic waste is beginning to outweigh its usefulness.”
Other solutions are to make recycling easy, effective and widely accessible; to increase the use of effective incentives like Bottle Bills for recycling aluminum, plastic and glass containers; and to dis-incentivize polystyrene (Styrofoam), especially foam dock floats in favor of enclosed foam or non-foam dock materials that won’t send plastic chunks into rivers. “We are encouraging dock-owners to swap their plastic foam dock floats for better options like plastic barrels or other readily available products,” continues Fisk. “Many people don’t realize that plastic foam is commonly used in docks. This plastic foam crumbles under constant attack from floating debris, animals, and floods. It breaks off and pollutes our rivers, but there are more environmentally-friendly options.”
“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.”
Over the past 23 years, Source to Sea Cleanup volunteers have removed more than 1,167 tons of trash from our rivers. 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.