HARRINGTON PARK, N.J. — Hackensack Riverkeeper, a local clean water advocacy group, partnered with SUEZ, a water company, on a four-hour cleanup of the Oradell Reservoir in Harrington Park and Closter.
Some 40 volunteers collected enough trash and other debris to fill two pickup trucks.
Working on shore and from canoes last Saturday, the volunteers picked up upwards of 500 pounds of garbage from the reservoir, which is part of a system that provides drinking water for more than 800,000 people in Bergen, Rockland, and Hudson counties.
The Oradell Reservoir Cleanup takes place annually in conjunction with the International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest volunteer effort to improve the health of the world’s oceans and waterways.
The movement, which saw the collection of 8 million pounds of trash last year, is spearheaded by the Ocean Conservancy and relies on the mobilization and data collected by local organizations such as Hackensack Riverkeeper.
“Being part of the International Coastal Cleanup underscores the global impact of the work we do,” said Caitlin Doran, volunteer coordinator.
“Our effort is the upstream solution to ocean pollution,” she added, “and with every cleanup, we are helping to turn the tide on litter and marine debris.”
The amount of debris being collected has decreased over the last several years, according to Ray Cywinski, watershed manager for SUEZ.
He attributed the decrease to the cleanups and, "hopefully, a growing awareness on the part of individuals in keeping litter in its proper place.”
From April through November, Hackensack Riverkeeper holds 30 cleanups in different areas of the watershed.
For more information on the River Cleanup Program and how to get involved, visit www.hackensackriverkeeper.org or call 201-968-0808.