Staff members and volunteers from the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum collected trash during the 2019 Project Clean Stream, another of ShoreRivers' clean-water initiatives.

Trash-Free Campaign Launches on Mid-Shore

The concept is simple: pick it up, put it in the trash, post a pic.

ShoreRivers, the waterkeeper organization for Eastern Shore waterways from the Sassafras River to the Choptank, has just launched a Trash-Free Campaign. From now until September, ShoreRivers will give volunteers supplies to clean up trash from their local public spaces, asking that you send in photos of your efforts for social media shoutouts.

As we recently reported, public parks and natural areas in the Bay region have seen a huge influx of visitors since the pandemic began. A recent Google Community Mobility Study showed that public spaces in Maryland have seen a 144% increase in visitation since this time last year.

ShoreRivers points out that people are turning to the energizing and healing power of nature for mental and physical relief– but the increased park visitation also means increased litter, which ends up in waterways.

“Every morning I take a pair of grabbers and some trash bags, and head down to my local park with my dog Rogue. There is something empowering about taking ownership of a public space, and being outside and doing good for the environment has lifted my spirits. I hope the rest of our community follows suit in picking up trash to keep our rivers and our shared spaces clean,” says Matt Pluta, Choptank Riverkeeper & Director of Riverkeeper Programs at ShoreRivers.

If you are interested in joining the Trash-Free campaign, head down to your local park, pick up trash, take a photo, and post on your social media accounts with the hashtag #trashfreeshorerivers. Contact Connor Liu at cliu@shorerivers.org with photos and/or questions about clean up supplies. You’ll get a limited-edition sticker in thanks.

ShoreRivers recommends that everyone who picks up trash use gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer before, during, and after cleanups and to follow social distancing guidelines.

Trash-Free ShoreRivers and other anti-litter programs are supported by a Maryland Environmental Trust grant. ShoreRivers says this campaign makes a great warmup for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Project Clean Stream program, a Bay-wide effort to clean up trash, which kicks off September 11.

-Meg Walburn Viviano