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Strike A Chord: Sweeping The River Clean

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Jen Benson is one of the many people trying to keep the Hudson River alive and well. She's the Project Outreach Coordinator at Riverkeeper.  Benson said it's often hard to go anywhere in the city without seeing plastic all around her.

"You'll see plastic bags stuck in the trees, or you'll see them floating through the air," Benson said.

Riverkeeper does a number of things to try and clean the Hudson River and it's various tributaries. The watch-dog organization runs a patrol boat, takes water quality samples and hosts an annual clean-up called the River Keeper Sweep. Benson said at the latest sweep she was frustrated by what she saw.

"We find most commonly single use items: plastic bags, plastic bottles, pieces of Styrofoam ranging in size from as big as a mattress to fragments of Styrofoam cups."

Benson said Riverkeeper picked up 844 plastic bottles during their latest sweep, but despite this figure, she's always heartened by the actions she sees people taking in their everyday life to help the environment

"There's a lot of momentum around refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle," Benson said. "There are more and more folks walking around with reusable grocery bags at farmers markets or grocery stores or using a reusable water bottle."

In April, Governor Cuomo introduced legislation to faze out the use of plastic bags, but lawmakers didn't take up the issue during the latest session.