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What we find at the shoreline – See data on Hudson River trash

During this Saturday’s Riverkeeper Sweep 2017, we’ll continue a data collection project that we piloted in 2016, in which volunteers at certain cleanup sites count and classify each bit of trash collected at the shoreline.

Save the first Saturday in May for Sweep, every year!

Take a look at what Riverkeeper Sweep volunteers collected and documented at five project locations last year: Foam, cigarettes and plastic of all kinds:

Since Sweep began in 2011, we have worked with our Sweep Leaders to gather data on the quantity of trash and recycling, most frequently found trash, and the number of tires they collect during each project. The grand total over the last 6 years: 164.8 tons of debris, 9 tons of recycling, and 741 tires.

These basic numbers have helped us quantify the impact of Sweep, but inspired questions about the specific types and quantities of trash removed from our shorelines. With this in mind, we launched the first comprehensive data collection initiative in 2016.

As a regional snapshot, the results were, as expected, high numbers of beverage bottles, single-use plastic bags, cigarette butts and foam items, along with hundreds of pieces of “tiny trash,” smaller than 2.5 centimeters.

On a local level, the Guardians of Flushing Bay encountered foam pieces above all else, finding 477 pieces of foam (larger than 2.5 centimeters), and so many pieces of foam under 2.5 centimeters they stopped counting at 370. 

The good news: Riverkeeper Sweep continues to grow. We’ve seen a tremendous increase in the number of locations and volunteers, and the tons of debris collected, as seen in the charts below.

The following sites are participating in the data collection effort this year:

Newtown Creek with North Brooklyn Boat Club
John V. Lindsay East River Park
Hastings: Waterfront Shoreline Cleanup
Sleepy Hollow: Pocantico River by Kayak
Cold Spring: Little Stony Point Cleanup by Land
New Windsor: Plum Point Park & Beach Cleanup
Newburgh: South Street Park Cleanup
Poughkeepsie: Waryas Park Shoreline Cleanup
Poughkeepsie: Kaal Rock Park
Saugerties: Ulster Landing County Park and Turkey Point State Forest

Click here to see all 105 locations of Riverkeeper Sweep 2017 and sign up to volunteer. Thank you!

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