KidscelebratetrashEven though volunteers remove tons of trash every year during our stream cleanup events, trash accumulates quickly in our waterways. Marine debris, or trash in waterways, is a huge ongoing issue around the world. In fact, a new study estimates that 8 million tons of plastic goes into our oceans each year. There are many different actions we can take to prevent trash from reeking havoc in our waterways and PCS is working to coordinate some of those initiatives locally. Last year PCS received a grant from NOAA’s Marine Debris program, through the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, to further enhance two of our largest river cleanup initiatives, Clean Your Streams and Get the Lead Out.

With funding from NOAA Marine Debris, the Toledo Community Foundation and a Litter Grant from the Ohio EPA, we are specifically targeting river sites that need more frequent cleaning than our large, one-day regional Clean Your Streams Day. Clean Your Streams 365 (known as CYS 365) is rolling out later this spring, as snow melts, water levels decrease and water warms up. However, we are accepting interest forms for volunteer groups now. Groups will receive all the cleanup materials they need to complete a successful cleanup including gloves, trash bags, nets, maps and an optional data collection form (to track the amount and types of trash). Sites will be available in many suburbs around Toledo focusing in Swan Creek, Ottawa River, Maumee River and Maumee Bay tributaries. Once the interest form is completed, the time and location for the cleaning event will be determined based on the groups needs while keeping in consideration and being flexible of water levels and weather.

While PCS is going ahead strong in trash removal efforts, we cannot do it alone. Trash in our environment adds up quickly, and while we are working hard to educate and prevent the issue, the process begins with you. As a reminder, it is much easier to prevent trash from getting into the rivers, than getting it out. Get started by taking part in Clean Your Streams 365 (a.k.a CYS 365) by completing this interest form.