This Hudson River Estuary cleanup event spans from Brooklyn to Troy in an effort to decrease the amount of pollution found on the river's shorelines. A group of 2,000 volunteers will spread out over 100 different locations, collecting trash. Various non-profit groups, boat clubs, environmental groups, small businesses, and agencies organize the cleanup projects throughout the area. Along with the trash cleanup, there will be plantings of trees and grasses throughout the region.
This event is part of the Trash Free Hudson initiative that aims to eliminate plastic and other pollution in the estuary. The survey intends to locate the sources of trash and find methods to prevent pollution from entering the water. In 2012, 450 volunteers removed seven tons of trash and recyclables from the river and shoreline. By 2015, the numbers grew dramatically: 2,000 volunteers removed 40 tons of trash. Over the last four years, a total of 115 tons of trash have been eliminated from the river region during this one-day event.
A new effort this year will involve students taking note of what each piece of trash is, and then finding its source. Students, educated by Josh Kogan, coordinator of the Trash Free Waters Program, US Environmental Protection Agency Region 2, will follow a survey protocol developed by the Ocean Conservancy. They will count each bottle cap, cigarette, take-out container, and yard of fishing line recovered from the river and shoreline by their cleanup partners.
Plastic bottles and styrofoam have been the main forms of pollution gathered during the Riverkeeper Sweep. EPA Region 2 has set a goal of eliminating “point source” discharges of pollution into waterways by 2025. For more information on the river cleanup event or to register as a volunteer, click here.