Live Green and Earn Points


Organize a local waterway clean up

By Shomik Ghosh |
Act locally to preserve the natural beauty of your river, lake, or ocean shoreline, benefiting the entire ecosystem and the creatures in it.
Litter rarely stays in one place, and organizing a local waterway cleanup maintains the natural beauty of your area, improves water quality, and protects wildlife.

How to organize a local waterway cleanup

  1. Organize a local waterway cleanup using a guide, like the Watershed Activities guide, which offers advice on budgeting, sponsorship, publicity, and volunteer recruitment.
  2. Volunteer for an already established clean-up, like Annual Coastal Cleanup, International Coastal Cleanup, or Annual Waterway Cleanup.
  3. Teach children about the effects of water pollution using a guide like kids kit.
  4. If you're on a trip fishing, hiking, or walking, pick up litter and dispose of it properly (recycle or throw in trash).
  5. To get other people involved, post your event on a website such as Craigslist or just get a group of friends together.
  6. Keep statistics on what litter was gathered, and how much of it. This gives baseline information on which to measure future cleanups.
Equipment It may be possible to borrow equipment from state and local government offices or environmental organizations. Site-captains and cleanup crews need the following items:
  1. Large trash bags (preferably reusable) and boxes for recyclables
  2. Work gloves
  3. Rakes, shovels, and/or litter poles
  4. Flagging tape
  5. Maps (road or waterway/shoreline)
  6. First aid kits
  7. Wheelbarrows
  8. Truck to take litter to municipal recycling/waste centers

Organizing a local waterway cleanup helps you go green because…

  • It protects wildlife from swallowing or becoming trapped in items like plastic bags and soda-can holders.
  • It preserves the natural beauty of local rivers, lakes, streams, and beaches.
  • A cleanup is a learning experience about our relationship to natural bodies of water.
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