SALT LAKE CITY — Dozens of volunteers honored Earth Day by teaming up to clean the Jordan River and surrounding area on Friday.
They used any means necessary to finish the job.
Volunteers traveled in canoes to pick up debris in the water. Others rode scooters on the pavement to quickly collect garbage. Some used the more conventional method of walking with trash bags in hand to help beautify the area.
The event was organized by the Jordan River Commission. Several community groups joined in the clean-up effort.
“It’s just a reminder that any litter or garbage that gets out ends up in our public space,” said Kenna Patino of HEAL Utah, a non-profit promoting clean air and energy. "If any garbage or litter ends up in a public space it can affect the health of that space."
The Jordan River flows from Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake. While bags and bags of junk were collected at the site in Salt Lake City where volunteers gathered, there is a good chance the litter did not originate at that site.
“The way our stormwater system works here, all of our gutters and drainages drain into the nearest creek or nearest stream unfiltered, untreated. That is a challenge for water quality for the Jordan River,” said Aimee Horman with the Jordan River Commission.
This is the 4th year for this Earth Day clean-up event.
Organizers hope it raises awareness that litter can travel and negatively impact a wide area of the environment.
“The amount of trash that's available for the volunteers to work on is discouraging,” Horman said. “If we get ahead of it and everyone pitches in, we will see a real difference.”
The Jordan River Commission is beginning an initiative called “Love Your Watershed” to educate people on the importance of cleaning up parking lots, sidewalks and curbs to prevent that litter from polluting the Jordan River.