News > News > Get Involved > 2,000 volunteers net 40 tons of shoreline trash in a day – Riverkeeper pledges year-round Campaign for a Trash Free Hudson

2,000 volunteers net 40 tons of shoreline trash in a day – Riverkeeper pledges year-round Campaign for a Trash Free Hudson

For Immediate Release: May 14, 2015

Contact: Cliff Weathers, 914-478-4501, Ext 239

Riverkeeper is announcing a sustained, year-round campaign to make the waters trash-free after tallying the results of its largest ever shoreline cleanup effort Saturday, May 9 – when 40 tons of debris were removed from the Hudson Valley and New York City shorelines in a single day.

More than 2,000 volunteers from Brooklyn to Troy removed trash and planted or maintained trees in the Fourth Annual Riverkeeper Sweep, a day of service for the Hudson River Estuary. Plastic and Styrofoam were once again the most common item cleared from the shores, but lawnmowers, tires, couches, a playground horse and part a car were hauled out, too.
“More people were involved than ever, in more communities than ever,” said Dana Gulley, Riverkeeper’s Manager of Strategic Partnerships, Outreach and Volunteer Programs.

Riverkeeper is launching a campaign to reduce trash and engage communities throughout the Hudson River watershed in conservation.

“The sentiment on the shores that day was, ‘Wow. I had no idea,’ followed up by people saying, ‘What can we do? How can we work after today to keep this volume of trash from coming back into the river?’” Gulley said. “To that we say, ‘Work with us.’”
Here’s The Sweep by the numbers:

  • More than 2,000 volunteers turned out at 102 project sites, from Red Hook in Brooklyn to the Capital District;
  • More than 40 tons of debris were removed from the Hudson River Estuary, including the East River, Gowanus Canal and Hudson Valley streams;
  • 1,150 trees and native grasses were planted;
  • More than 500 trees and native shrubs received maintenance care;

Among the bigger challenges were the removal of part of a car from the muck at Annsville Creek inPeekskill, and years’ worth of storm debris at Middleground Flats in Hudson, N.Y., where two lawnmowers, a weed whacker and a playground horse were retrieved.

Along Hudson Valley tributaries like the Wallkill River, volunteers organized cleanups by boat and land, and took part in the “Trees for Tribs” program in partnership with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program.

Riverkeeper has used the Sweep to engage community leaders and residents throughout the Hudson River watershed in conservation projects and advocacy. For instance, with projects in each of the last three years, the Sweep has helped the Manhattan Wetlands and Wildlife Association build support for preservation of Inwood’s North Cove on the Harlem River. And with six service projects in 2015 on the Wallkill River, the Sweep is helping to build momentum for a new citizen watershed protection effort on one of the Hudson’s largest tributaries, which flows through parts of Sussex County, N.J., and Orange and Ulster counties in New York.

Today, Riverkeeper is taking that effort to another level, and announcing an expanded campaign to reduce trash, especially plastic pollution. Riverkeeper is taking the following steps to support efforts to reduce the amount of trash and debris entering our watershed:

  • Advocating a New York State ban on microbeads proposed by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.
  • Supporting local bans and limits on the use of polystyrene containers and plastic bags.
  • Supporting a New York City fee on single-use bags.
  • Promoting the use of reusable bags. Riverkeeper forged a “BYOBag” coalition in August 2014 with Down to Earth Markets, Green Ossining and ECOBAGS, with the goal of reducing the distribution of single-use plastic bags at the Ossining Farmers Market.
  • Taking part in the EPA’s Trash Free Waters working group with science, government and advocacy groups to address global and local problems.
    • Learn more on our web page on “Riverkeeper Sweep and Beyond: Working toward a trash-free Hudson.

      The Sweep is the signature New York event in the Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Series, presented by Toyota and designed to connect people to their waterways. Other sponsors include the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, Rocket Fuel, Ironshore, EILEEN FISHER, Paragon Sports, Sprout Watches, VOS Selections, JSA Financial, Orvis, the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, Pleasant Valley Stone and these individuals: Joe and Daryl Boren, and John and Gillett Gilbert.

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