HACKENSACK, N.J. -- The Hackensack Riverkeeper capped off its 2016 River Cleanup season Nov. 20 with a volunteer cleanup of Mackay Park and Metzler Brook in Englewood.
Including Sunday’s cleanup, Riverkeeper organized and conducted a total of 28 cleanups that mobilized 900 volunteers to remove more than 39,000 pounds of trash, tires, and other debris from area waterways.
Some snow still clung to the ground Sunday as volunteers pulled a section of couch, computer monitors, shopping carts, and a television out of Metzler Brook – a tributary of the Hackensack River that forms the western boundary of Mackay Park in Englewood.
According to Caitlin Doran, the organization’s outreach coordinator: “Some of what you find at these cleanups is obviously dumped. Other items – we’ll call them the usual suspects – like bottles, butts, and Styrofoam, come from everywhere and everyone. The big take-away at these events is that litter is everyone’s problem.”
Local company Benzel-Busch Motor Corps. sponsored the cleanup and joined a long list of Riverkeeper’s corporate and civic partners, including (in order of appearance): Bergen Clean Communities, Panasonic, Genzyme, Park Ridge Green Team, the City of Hackensack, Hackensack Clean Communities, SUEZ, Levi-Strauss, Tenafly Middle School, River Edge Environmental Commission, Samsung, Ralph Lauren, ING, Stryker Corp., Hackensack High School’s Goin’ Green Club, Royal Bank of Canada, Becton Dickinson, Goldman Sachs, Bayonne Nature Club, US Bank, BMW, Ernst&Young, SUEZ- New York Division, Oradell Environmental Committee, Samsung and others.
Each year, Hackensack Riverkeeper conducts river cleanups from April through November. Other programs that provide the public with educational and recreational experiences include eco-cruises on the Hackensack River, Passaic River and Newark Bay aboard the 30-foot research vessels Robert H. Boyle II and Geraldine Theresa, as well as paddling centers at Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus and Overpeck County Park in Teaneck. In addition, hundreds of people joined Riverkeeper at special paddling events at Suez’s Oradell Reservoir, Lake DeForest and Lake Tappan.
All told, about 10,000 people were engaged through the organization’s programs and events. Involving the public is at the heart of Riverkeeper’s mission, whether it’s at a cleanup, on an eco-cruise, in a kayak or in any way that connects people with their river.
Leaders of community groups or companies looking to plan river cleanups in 2017 can contact Outreach Coordinator Caitlin Doran at 201-968-0808 or e-mail her at Outreach@hackensackriverkeeper.org.