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Source to Sea Cleanup pulls tons of trash from area rivers

On Sept. 27 and 28, an estimated 3,500 volunteers gathered at more than 125 locations along the Connecticut River and tributary streams in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut for Connecticut River Conservancy’s 23rd annual Source to Sea Cleanup.

Volunteers with work gloves and trash bags got dirty — and some got wet — in their effort to remove nearly 50 tons of trash in and along our rivers.

Notably, CRC worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and community members to remove 54 tires from beneath the surface of the Connecticut River at the mouth of the Ashuelot River. The effort involved a scuba diver securing the tires one-by-one underwater and specialized boats pulling the tires to the surface.

“Source to Sea Cleanup volunteers’ hard work and dedication is inspiring and makes a real difference for our rivers,” Andrew Fisk, CRC’s executive director, said in a news release. “But our work isn’t done until we put ourselves out of the river clean-up business.”

While the two-day Cleanup event is over for this year, CRC continues their work on trash pollution year-round.

CRC is asking for everyone’s help to spread the word about the region’s trash problem and the impact it has on our rivers. In particular, it is challenging two companies via social media — Dunkin’ and Cumberland Farms — whose trash is regularly found during the Source to Sea Cleanup.

CRC points out that, given how much Dunkin’ and Cumberland Farms trash is found during the Source to Sea Cleanup, these companies have a unique opportunity to make a huge difference for our rivers by using more environmentally-friendly options.

“We invite everyone to join us in telling them we expect better,” said Stacey Lennard, CRC’s Cleanup coordinator. “We want less single-use plastic and plastic foam; we want more reusable and compostable options; we want items that are easier to recycle and keep out of landfills.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #531 (Wednesday, October 9, 2019).

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