NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — Residents of the towns that fall within the watersheds of the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord Rivers will do their parts this weekend to keep the rivers clean for future generations.
Sponsored by OARS, the 26th Annual River Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 15. Though thewatersheds of the three rivers are located within 34 towns, this year's clean-up will focus on 11 communities: Acton, Concord, Framingham, Hudson, Marlborough, Maynard, Northborough, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland and Westborough. Clean-up is set to begin at 9 a.m. and continue until noon.
OARS was founded in 1986 as OAR (Organization for the Assabet River) by a group of citizens who were concerned with the Assabet river's level of pollution and sought to protect it. In 2011, the organization added the Sudbury and Concord rivers to its mission.
OARS pursues three main goals: to raise awareness of the rivers' importance and natural beauty, to collect scientific data on the state of the water and to work with local and state governments to keep the area clean enough for fishing and swimming.
Carla Gomez, outreach coordinator for OARS, said that volunteers at each clean-up site work along the river banks and in the water, where they find everything ranging from kitchen utilities to car parts.
"We get piles of tires," she said. "People don't want to pay to get them recycled."
"Tires, TVs, plastic bottles and more—we’ve seen it all," said OARS Executive Director Alison Field-Juma. "There is nothing more satisfying than pulling this trash out of the river so that the natural beauty shines through. This event is an opportunity for everyone to make a very tangible difference."
Gomez said that OARS works with local departments of public works to properly dispose and, if possible, recycle, everything collected.