CORNWALL, Ontario – The Great River Network (a network of over fifty related organizations, agencies, and individuals on the St. Lawrence River) successfully led another ‘Great River Cleanup’ on September 23, 2021. The Great River Network has coordinated Great River Cleanup events since 2016 and has removed over forty tonnes of garbage from the River in Akwesasne, Cornwall and Lancaster.
A small group of volunteers, along with hired commercial divers and a 40-tonne crane, removed five cubic yards of garbage and 2.75 metric tonnes of metal during last Thursday’s event at the Cornwall Harbour. Divers from the Seaway Valley Diving Club have been working for the past two years to gather debris and stage it at the harbour wall in preparation for removal. Items pulled out this year included sixteen grocery carts, car seats, a mattress, tires, bicycles, wire rope, re-bar, bollards, wharf bumpers and much more. The cleanup organizing committee consisted of many dedicated community volunteers, and members of the Seaway Valley Diving Club, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, the River Institute, the Raisin Region Conservation Authority, the Cornwall Lunker Club, and the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. Donations were kindly provided by Gerdau Metals Recycling, Tomlinson Environmental Services, O2togo Dive Centre, Cornwall Fine Wines, and the City of Cornwall.
Patricia O’Hara, Chair of the Great River Network, is proud of the dedication and effort shown by all the Network volunteers this past year. “This cleanup is yet another initiative that the Network partners and volunteers have completed to improve the condition of the St. Lawrence River,” she stated. “We are very grateful to the divers and to the community for supporting this important work.”
The Great River Network partnered with the River Institute and received funding from the Great Lakes Local Action Fund to conduct this Cleanup. It is one of the many initiatives that are part of the community actions from the River Institute’s Great River Rapport.
Despite the success of the cleanup efforts, it is important to stress the negative impacts that garbage and debris cause to the ecosystem. The Great River Network and all the cleanup partners are hopeful that this type of pollution will stop, so that everyone can enjoy the countless benefits of our great river for generations to come.
The River Institute was established in 1994 as a unique community partnership involving the City of Cornwall, government, education, business and industry, and the Mohawks of Akwesasne. Its mandate is environmental research and education with a focus on the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence River ecosystem. As a non-profit charitable organization, the River Institute raises its own funds for all
essential costs, including salaries, administration, overhead, and operations. To support the River Institute, visit https://www.riverinstitute.ca/donate/