WESTFIELD Mass. (WWLP) – Wheel barrels, trash bags, and gloves in hand, thousands of volunteers shuffled through a path of grass and gravel with one goal in mind, to pick up the trash littered through Westfield River.
Nick Yost told 22News the cleanup teaches volunteers how harmful trashing the environment truly is. “I think when you see everything that people leave around you think well I don’t want to drop this for somebody else to pick up later but it’s good to keep everything nice and clean,” he said.
Crews spread through the 4-state Connecticut River watershed, for the annual Source to Sea Cleanup. Volunteers tackle piles of trash cluttering the shorelines, and pick up debris others leave behind.
Lynn Bannon of the Westfield River Watershed Association, said crews spent all morning by the river, picking up trash that ranges from cups and paper, to larger items like tents, and even bikes. “You’ll find construction debris, old furniture, it’s really unfortunate that people think of the river as a trash bin, but it’s still happening,” she said.
The cleanup has been a tradition in Westfield for decades, attracting a wide array of volunteers, from high school students to the elderly.
Volunteers like Samantha Via, an environmental specialist, spend two, three-hour days picking up the watershed, an area that stretches from the Westfield River to the Connecticut River. “All tributaries lead to one water source, so when you dump trash in the Westfield River, it’s going to go to other streams and lakes, and the Connecticut River,” she said.
The Connecticut River Watershed Council has organized the Source to Sea Cleanup for 18-years and counting, a tradition that returns each spring and fall.