Tireless Project seeks volunteers for annual Allegheny River clean-up
The aptly named Tireless Project will kick off its riverfront clean-up season on Sunday.
Volunteers can roll up their sleeves to fish debris like bottles, soda cans and plastic toys from the banks of the Allegheny River. Sponsored by Allegheny CleanWays, the trash collection will be noon to 3 p.m. beginning at Millvale Riverfront Park. Allegheny CleanWays was founded in 2000 to fight illegal dumping and keep the river and surrounding green spaces clean.
“We find lots of different types of trash in the river,” volunteer Dave Yake said. “Sports balls and children's toys are found quite often. At one cleanup, we found a giant plastic turtle sandbox that was almost entirely intact.”
Since the riverfront clean-up began in 2003, volunteers have removed more than 608,000 pounds of trash — including 3,568 tires and 24,000 pounds of metal — from riverbanks and streams, according to the Tireless Project website.
Samantha Weaver, education and outreach coordinator for Allegheny CleanWays, said the three-hour collections are held throughout the spring and summer. Volunteers board the 28-foot pontoon boat, the Rachel Carson, and sail off to spots along the Allegheny River, including Sharpsburg, Blawnox and Millvale.
Sometimes, groups will also work on invasive plant removal or tree planting.
More than 4,400 people have participated over the years, Weaver said.
Though the primary focus is health and aesthetics, Yake said the experience is another draw for volunteers.
“Volunteers work together to accomplish this important task and can look back at the end of the day to see the mountain of trash that no long resides in and around the river,” he said. “We aim to create a sense of ownership in our volunteers that will stick with them after the event is over. We feel the best way to help protect our rivers is to create a new generation of stewards by putting them in touch with these local natural resources.”
The Tireless Project kickoff begins at noon with music from Colonel Eagleburger's Highstepping Goodtime Band. Afterward, volunteers can stay for refreshments from 3 to 5 p.m. during volunteer recognition.
Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.