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News




52,000 Volunteers Expected to Help Clean Rivers


5/13/2002

By Erlina Tulabut

An estimated 52,000 volunteers are expected to participate in about 300 events this week as part of the 11th annual National River Cleanup Week.

The cleanup gives ailing rivers a "face-lift" while helping increase the number of people who support clean waterways, said David Brown, executive director of America Outdoors, the sponsor of River Cleanup Week. America Outdoors is a trade association for travel outfitters and guides.

"People go out and discover how either careless or illegal disposal of trash and debris is fouling waterways," Brown said. He said the cleanup events are educational experiences for volunteers.

The week kicked off on Saturday with the biggest group of volunteers: Friends of the Chicago River. The group said before the event that it expected 2,700 volunteers to lend a hand at 55 sites along the 156-mile Chicago River.

Last year the Chicago association rounded up 2,200 volunteers who removed 33 tons of trash from the river. Among the refuse was a couch, baby carriage, rake, golf balls and a lawn mower engine.

"The cleanup builds community," said Margaret Frisbie, deputy director of the Friends of the Chicago River. "It teaches people about the river and their neighborhood and how it's linked to their lives and that they can make a difference by taking action."



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