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Dumpster Diving in the Merrimack River

Imagine that your city dump is located at the bottom of a river, unseen below the surface… and that same river is the main source for your community’s drinking water. Most people would be shocked to realize how common this scenario actually is.

We need a wake up call, and the people of the Clean River Project in Lowell, Massachusetts answered the call with their July 25th “scavenger hunt” cleanup on the Merrimack River. The competition challenged people to see how much “stuff” they could collect from the river with scoring on a points-based system. (There were prizes for both “small boat” and “large boat” categories.)

Competitors dove in and hauled up cars and car parts, engines, a dishwasher, a couch, a tar and gravel roof (ugh!) and many other nasty polluting items from the river that supplies drinking water to Lowell, Lawrence and Methuen (home of the Methuen bottle tree, which was NOT pulled out of the river!)

After the cleanup, the debris was recycled or properly disposed of. I believe I would have preferred that all of it stayed there for a bit, the entire mountain of rusting, smelly, soggy crap, along with some signage explaining where this mess had been…and where it was headed. That’s my idea of compelling public education.

Congratulations to the hardy competitors! Video (with front-end advertising) and screenshots from necn.com.