NJ Sites and 2,000 Volunteers Needed for World’s Largest Waterway Cleanup, Sept. 20th
TRENTON, N.J. – Population and industrial growth have taken their toll on urban waterways, contributing to pollution problems in many of New Jersey’s cities. This year, the New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) is targeting waterways in urban centers as part of the 29th-annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) on Saturday, September 20, 2014. The NJCCC is currently compiling a list of the dirtiest river banks in New Jersey, and is asking for public input.
“We are targeting rivers because they are an important link in the chain of trash,” said Sandy Huber, executive director, NJCCC. “Much attention has deservedly gone to ocean beaches but we can’t forget the rivers, especially those with extensive debris.”
This fall marks the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, and there are more than 200 rivers and streams in New Jersey that were adversely affected when the disaster dumped raw and partially treated sewage throughout the state’s waterways. Waterways in urban areas face additional challenges, such as runoff of oil, rubber, heavy metals and other contaminants from automobiles. This can leave them unfit to be used as drinking water or even recreationally for fishing, boating or swimming.
NJCCC hopes to sign 2,000 volunteers for the International Coastal Cleanup. The international event also kicks off NJCCC’s fall cleanup season.
Last year, the ICC collected more than 12 million pounds of trash, the most ever collected in the event’s history.
New Jersey area volunteers are asked to take part by joining a confirmed cleanup effort, or coordinating their own, and registering by the September 1 deadline. NJCCC will provide the official bags for trash and recyclables as well as gloves, data cards and other materials to registered volunteers.
The International Coastal Cleanup is the planet’s largest volunteer cleanup for waterway and ocean health. Hosted locally by New Jersey Clean Community Council, the Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup event has motivated 8.5 million people – including those from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut – in more than 100 countries to cross nearly 300,000 miles to collect more than 156 million pounds of trash from the world’s waterways since 1986. The focus of International Coastal Cleanup Day is as much on inland and urban waterways as it is on New Jersey’s shores.
The annual International Coastal Cleanup is hosted nationally by Ocean Conservancy, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental nonprofit advocacy organization that promotes healthy and diverse ocean ecosystems. During each yearly event, volunteers record on standardized data cards the items they find. Ocean Conservancy compiles and analyzes the data and publishes the world’s only item-by-item, location-by-location snapshot of ocean trash. Readers can share their passion for cleaner waterways at facebook.com/oceanconservancy and twitter.com/OurOcean.