by Kavita Karmarkar

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Every year for Earth Day, the Charles River Watershed Association mobilizes an average 3000 Bostonians to organize the annual Charles River Cleanup, which stretches from the downtown Boston up to Milford/Hopkinton in the suburbs. It is a part of the nationwide ‘National Rivers Cleanup’ organized by American Rivers – a national advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and conserving rivers. Now in its 20th year, the Charles River Cleanup has had tremendous success in the past, winning the ‘Most pounds of trash collected’ award for collecting about 100,000 pounds of trash and the ‘Most volunteers mobilized’ award last year.

This year, the EPMA committee, along with other organizations, were tasked with cleaning up the riverbank at Lederman Park, next to the Massachusetts General Hospital. Located in the heart of Boston, this park is heavily used by the community and easily accessible by public transport.

EPMA members posing with the trash they collected from the Charles River.

The day started with all volunteers meeting up at the riverbank by 9.00 am. The volunteers signed in and were given gloves and trash bags to start. We scoured the area for anything that did not belong, picking up cigarette stubs, metal pieces, coffee cups, straws, plastic, and paper. A lot of the trash going into the river often ends up entangled and collected within the rip-rap stones. The volunteers had to climb down on the rip-rap to collect trash from the crevices, which made the work harder, but even more fulfilling. The Charles River Clean Up Boat made an appearance and collected trash at various spots in the river. After about 3 hours of work, the results were starting to show as the area looked cleaner.

These events offer a great opportunity to give back to the river and to mother Earth, while meeting like-minded people who share our passion. The EPMA team wishes to thank all volunteers who showed up on this cold, windy, Saturday morning to make a difference.

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