Volunteers remove nearly 3 tons of trash from Black Warrior Watershed in 2021

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Cleanups
Black Warrior Riverkeeper cleanups in 2021. Photo via Black Warrior Riverkeeper Watershed

Back in January of this year, Bham Now reported on an important Black Warrior Riverkeeper initiative to rid the watershed and local neighborhoods of trash. Three months into 2021, they have enlisted the help of more than 250 volunteers to remove nearly 3 tons of debris.

Read on to see how they did it.

The Numbers

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Black Warrior Riverkeeper cleanups in 2021. Photo via Black Warrior Riverkeeper Watershed

When we last talked to Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s Katie Fagan, who is an AmeriCorps Volunteer Engagement Coordinator,  the organization had just completed its first Saturday morning litter cleanup with the City of Birmingham along Huffman Road in the Eastern area of the Magic City. The volunteers had picked up 377 pounds of litter in two hours.

This past week, we caught up with Fagan to give us an update on the project’s progress.

Check out these numbers as of March 31st:

  • Number of Cleanup Events held in 2021: 17 
  • Pounds of trash and garbage removed: 5,617 pounds 
  • Number of cleanup volunteers: More than 250

Most common trash picked up – soda bottles and potato chip bags. Some of the most unusual items discovered?  A collection of tricycles! And televisions.

Secret to their Success – Community Support

Cleanups
Black Warrior Riverkeeper cleanups in 2021. Photo via Black Warrior Riverkeeper Watershed

The secret to the program’s success has been strong community support, notably in City Council District 1 in the Eastern part of Birmingham.  Led by City Councilor Clinton Woods, the district has held two cleanups a month since the beginning of the year. 

Fagan also recognized the importance of people coming together, in the age of COVID-19, socially distanced, to socialize and “build up” their  community.

“Not only do people like to clean up the litter and get involved cleaning up the environment, but it’s an opportunity for people to get outdoors and socialize,” Fagan added.

Upcoming April Cleanups

Cleanups
Black Warrior Riverkeeper cleanups in 2021. Photo via Black Warrior Riverkeeper Watershed

There are several cleanups on the April calendar.  Here is the lineup:

Register

Register today to volunteer for one of this month’s cleanups.  Be a part of a special movement in Birmingham and throughout the Black Warrior Watershed. It’s fun. It cleans up our environment. And you might even find a tricycle.

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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