May 10, 2012
Contact: Rachael Miller
Rozalia Project: Cleaning VT’s Waterways
Rozalia Project: Cleaning Vermont's Waterways
Rozalia Project: Cleaning Vermont's Waterways has removed 24,993 pieces of of trash, totaling 11,303 pounds from 6 miles of shoreline along the banks of Lake Champlain and the Winooski river since September 2011.
Cleaning Vermont''s Waterways is a partnership between Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean (a Vermont based 501(c)(3) non profit) and Vermont's Department of Labor to cleanup Vermont's waterways by putting the long term unemployed or people affected by the flooding of spring 2011 or Hurricane Irene back to work.
Cleaning Vermont's Waterways is currently employing 14 people in the Burlington and Waterbury areas, with 6 more workers coming online in the Middlebury area on Monday, May 14. A work crew for the White River area of central Vermont is being recruited to start May 21. The work crews remove trash and debris along waterways affected by the spring floods of 2011 and Hurricane Irene. In addition to the paid crews, volunteer cleanups run every 2 weeks through the summer and fall with 200 volunteers to date.
Cleaning Vermont's Waterways has the support and help of the Vermont Community Foundation, Ben and Jerry's Community Action Team, Pomerleau Real Estate, Seventh Generation, Mad River Valley Rotary, VT Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Winooski Valley Park District and Burlington Parks and Recreation. Additional partners are joining the program weekly.
Cleaning Vermont's Waterways has several project highlights to date:
- Our Waterbury work crew removed 315 tires from the banks of the Winooski in two days
- On Green Up Day, 40+ volunteers removed 4,157 pieces of trash weighing 596 pounds from the Burlington waterfront at the Community sailing Center
- Each of our work crews in Burlington and Waterbury are averaging over 1000 pieces of trash removed from our waterways per day
All the removed trash is recorded by type and weight, recycled or disposed responsibly. This data will become part of the first comprehensive marine debris study conducted in Vermont, providing critical baseline data, trend indicators and marine debris hotspots.
Some of the data already recorded is shocking:
- 4165 pieces of trash removed per mile of Vermont's waterways
- 1883 pounds of trash removed per mile of Vermont's waterways
- 165 pieces of micro plastic (<5mm) in a 6 inch square sample on North Beach, Burlington. This includes plastic pellets and plastic beads used in the cosmetic industry
- 315 tires removed from 1 mile section of Winooski river in Waterbury
- 1000 pieces of styrofoam removed from Derway Island at the mouth of the Winooski river
Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean’s Executive Director, Rachael Z Miller, notes "Marine debris is the sleeping dragon of Lake Champlain's pollution problems. Pieces of plastic and foam are filling Vermont's waterways from a variety of sources. These pieces degrade and breakdown into ever smaller pieces while leaching toxins and adsorbing persistent organic pollutants. As these pieces become smaller, they are ingested by a wide array of creatures in Vermont’s marine ecosystem and can end up in our human food chain. It is a real ticking time bomb. Trash and marine debris collection and removal is a critical issue for our freshwater and all marine environments."
Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean Founder, James Lyne, states, "Our rivers, lakes and oceans are being poisoned and choked by marine debris. This is a worldwide environmental problem. It is great that the Cleaning Vermont's Waterway's program is showing the world how government at the state and federal level, in partnership with a nonprofit like the Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean and with the support of local businesses, organizations and volunteers, can successfully tackle a major environmental problem to make a significant positive impact on the health of Vermont's waterways - one piece of trash at at time."
For more information, high resolution photos of Rozalia Project’s work in Vermont, or to arrange an interview or site visit, please contact:
Rachael Z. Miller, Founder/Exec. Director
Rozalia Project: Cleaning VT's Waterways
Winter office: 802-767-3784
Photo Gallery on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/rozaliaproject/