Volunteers clear rivers during 20th annual ‘Clean Your Streams’

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Thousands of pounds of trash removed despite rain

Every September since 1997 volunteers have joined forces for one day to clean the greater Toledo area’s streams, rivers, and ditches during the annual ‘Clean Your Streams Day.’ Partners for Clean Streams, and its collaborating organizations, held this year’s cleanup on Sept. 17 and believe the results are incredible. There were 960 volunteers who participated in the 20th cleanup this year, coming from a wide variety of youth organizations, schools/colleges, corporate entities, and other local businesses.

Despite the dreary, rainy day, the volunteers collected an estimated 26,136 pounds of trash – in just three hours. The total weight included 730 bags of trash, 311 tires, some with rims still attached, and several other large items including mattresses, shopping carts, construction materials, bricks, cinder blocks, metal poles, car parts, and much more. In total, volunteers cleaned 31.1 river miles that morning, covering 67 different sites across nine local watersheds including the Ottawa River, Swan Creek, Maumee River, and Maumee Bay tributaries.

The cleanup began at eight kickoff locations –Olander Park, University of Toledo, Monroe St. United Methodist Church, International Park, Oregon Municipal Building, Woodlands Park, Johns Manville, and University of Toledo Medical Center.

Clean Your Streams Day is part of Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup, during which hundreds of countries participate.

Since 1997, 11,025 volunteers have removed 266,113 pounds of trash from area streams. The hope is that one day there will no longer be a need for Clean Your Streams Day. The goal is for volunteers to see the large amount of trash in the waterways and to understand that removing it is one step toward clean, clear, and safe rivers and streams and to prevent trash from reaching rivers and streams at all. Without cleanups like Clean Your Streams Day or trying to prevent trash from entering the river, all of that debris eventually enters Lake Erie and negatively impacts the water that the community relies on for drinking, recreation, and the economy.