Spring-to-sea clean-up event scheduled for September
By Elizabeth Reinhart / Zip06.com • 07/20/2021 12:36 PM EST
Now in its 25th year, the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) Source-to-Sea Cleanup event is scheduled Friday through Sunday, September 24-26, with volunteer registrations for various locations available this summer.
The Spring-to-Sea Cleanup is one of the largest volunteer-run garbage collection events in the area, spanning nearly the entire length of the Connecticut River from Stratford, New Hampshire to Old Saybrook. Sections of the Connecticut River in Deep River and Essex have been cleanup sites for the event in recent years.
As part of CRC’s event this year, Essex is planning a city-wide clean-up on Saturday, September 25, with more details available at an upcoming Essex Sustainability Conference scheduled for Tuesday August 17 at noon. Advance registration for the conference is required on Sustainableessex.com.
Kelsey Wentling, a river steward for CRC, says attending the Spring to Sea Cleanup event is a fun way to connect with other local volunteers while making a positive impact on the environment .
“I think besides just doing a good service to your local community, it also has value because you get the chance to be outside and connect with your local ecosystem and hopefully , to connect with other people in your community, ”said Wentling. .
In 2020, there were 200 clean-up groups made up of 1,363 volunteers who collected 34.9 tons of trash along the Connecticut River during the month-long event, according to CRC’s Cleanup Chronicle.
There were 3,036 plastic bottles, 946 tires, 3,149 aluminum cans, 2,074 glass bottles and 2,395 pinches or small bottles of alcohol, among the different types of waste collected.
The environmental impacts of waste in waterways are manifold, Wentling said.
“One is habitat disturbance,” she said. “So having a tire embedded in the river is not a natural or good habitat for the insects, fish or birds that live in the river.
“So this in itself is a disturbance of the natural environment, but on top of that, a lot of these products are made with toxic chemicals that will eventually seep into the waters or they will slowly decompose,” continued Wentling.
Not only can water quality be affected by various chemicals, but in the case of styrofoam or microplastics that break into small pieces, some wildlife can mistake these pieces for food.
After ingesting the garbage, “in some cases it makes the animal think it is full, when in fact it just has a stomach full of plastic and this can actually lead to starvation. “said Wentling.
During the Spring to Sea Cleanup event, volunteers are encouraged to track information about the type and amount of waste collected. This data informs CRC’s long-term efforts to advocate for cleaner waterways, primarily through the Stop Trash Before It Starts campaign.
“We’re not just focusing on getting him out of the river, but also on preventing him from getting there in the first place,” Wentling said.
CRC is currently working at the state level of Connecticut to help fight illegal tire dumping, through a policy framework called Extended Producer Responsibility.
“So illegal tire dumping is a huge problem in all of our states and in Connecticut we continue to fight for this extended producer responsibility framework because it would really lead to producers taking back their tires at no cost to the consumer. ”Said Wentling. “So, that there is no incentive to dump them illegally.”
For more information on Spring-to-Sea Cleanup, visit www.cdriver.org.