As loads of bottles, plastic, glass and fishing lines scatter the shoreline along the Chemung River, the Riverside Patriots and Chemung River Friends are looking for more volunteers for the first river cleanup of the season.
“There’s a shopping cart down there, there’s a tire down here, those are always here,” Jim Pfiffer, Director of Chemung River Friends, said. “I get sick of it but, if we stop doing it, no one else is going to do it and it’s just going to pile up and ruin our environment.”
The Chemung River Watershed runs along the border between New York and Pennsylvania for about 2,600 square miles, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Polluting a watershed can affect the environment’s health where materials can discharge directly into the water or even seep into the soil and groundwater.
“Drinking water comes out of here,” Pfiffer said. “Look at the geese and all the other wildlife, they could get tangled up in this or eat this, so it not only pollutes the water but it puts the wildlife in danger and it’s just ugly.”
Cleanup will begin 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 11 at the Dunn Field Boat Launch in Elmira. It will move along to the Fitch’s Bridge Boat Launch and then on to Sen. William T. Smith Boat Launch at Minier’s.
If the Riverside Patriots are able to gain more volunteers, it plans to expand its cleanups to the Grove Street and Hudson Street boat launches in Elmira.
Gloves, trash bags and water will be provided by the Riverside Patriots.