Greenfield, MA – This weekend, Connecticut River Conservancy’s (CRC) 25th annual Source to Sea Cleanup begins on a riverbank near you! This event is one of the largest river cleanups in the country. Thousands of volunteers remove trash along rivers, streams, parks, boat launches, trails and more. Across the four-state, 410-mile Connecticut River system, volunteers will collect, tally and report their trash to keep our rivers clean. Anyone interested in getting dirty for cleaner rivers can get more information and register at www.ctriver.org/cleanup
“For our 25th anniversary we wanted to make this year’s cleanup a truly community-driven event,” said Stacey Lennard, CRC’s Cleanup Coordinator. “The Source to Sea Cleanup strengthens community while cleaning up our rivers and streams. It’s an opportunity for you to make a difference.” CRC coordinates this annual event across four states, targeting trash-ridden sites, organizing volunteers and equipping them with the tools needed to get the job done. Over the last 25 years, Source to Sea volunteers have removed over 1,200 tons of trash from our rivers, but there’s still more work to do.
Over 1,300 volunteers participated in last year’s Source to Sea Cleanup, held across the entire month of September due to the pandemic. Two hundred groups collected 34.9 tons of trash along 262 miles of river, according to CRC’s trash tallies. Reporting and tallying trash is an important element of the Source to Sea Cleanup because it informs CRC’s advocacy efforts. Last year, volunteers collected at least 10,654 beverage containers, about one-quarter of which were alcoholic nip bottles. As Massachusetts and Connecticut consider expanding their “bottle bills” to include a deposit on nip bottles, data from the Source to Sea Cleanup shows legislators how substantial a problem these single-use plastics are.
Often volunteers come across big, bulky items that are hard to dispose of like mattresses, appliances, or tires. Last year volunteers collected at least 946 tires, 14 mattresses, and 8,000 pounds of scrap metal. CRC has been advocating for states to pass “extended producer responsibility” bills that require manufacturers to take back these items for recycling and proper once they are past their use.
Volunteers are encouraged to take photos of their site before and after the Cleanup, then share those with CRC on social media with the hashtag #RiverWitness.
“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, and tag CRC on social media.” Select images from the #RiverWitness campaign will be used to further CRC’s advocacy work around trash reduction and environmental protection. Submit your photos to CRC on Facebook @connecticutriver, Instagram at @ctriverconservancy or Twitter at @CTRiverH2Oshed.
After the Cleanup, join CRC for a series of virtual Trash Talks that connect the trash found on the ground with the work being done to keep it from getting there. Learn more about what was collected during this year’s Source to Sea Cleanup and talk about advocacy and legislative action that continues year-round. Trash Talk details and registration can be found at www.ctriver.org/events.
Eversource, USA Waste & Recycling, and All American Waste are the Lead Source to Sea Cleanup sponsors and organize their own employee volunteer groups, too.
“Our commitment to sustainability and the environment is fundamental to our everyday work to provide safe, reliable service to our customers, and we are proud of our longstanding partnership with the Connecticut River Conservancy on the Source to Sea Cleanup,” said Eversource Vice President for Sustainability and Environmental Affairs Catherine Finneran. “As this incredible community event celebrates its 25th year, Source to Sea Cleanup continues to demonstrate what we can accomplish when we work together to protect the environment, and our employee volunteers look forward to working with their neighbors across our communities along the Connecticut River to make this year’s event another success.”
“We look forward to sponsoring and participating in the Source to Sea cleanup event every year and know first-hand that proper waste disposal is important to keep our rivers and communities clean,” says Frank M. Antonacci, COO of USA Waste & Recycling.
About the Connecticut River Conservancy
Since 1952, Connecticut River Conservancy has been the voice for the Connecticut River watershed, from source to sea. They collaborate 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 river and its tributary streams. Healthy rivers support healthy economies. To learn more about CRC, or to make a contribution to help protect your rivers, visit www.ctriver.org.