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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

Month-Long River Cleanup Nets 18 Tons of Trash

Monday March 20, 2006

City Hosts Nationally Renowned Environmental Organization

Mayor Jerry Abramson and Dr. James Ramsey, president of the University of Louisville, today announced that a month-long cleanup of the city’s waterfront has resulted in almost 20 tons of trash being pulled from the Ohio River.

More than 250 volunteers worked on boats and along the shoreline to pull almost 500 tires, countless metal barrels, refrigerators, kitchen sinks and even purses from the muddy spring river waters.
“Living Lands and Waters provided us tools we have never been able to use before to remove some of this trash that has been in the water for years,” Abramson said. “Our community is now a cleaner and greener place to live thanks to all the hard work of our volunteers.”

The cleanup was hosted by the Partnership for a Green City and organized by Living Lands and Waters – a nationally renowned nonprofit organization with its own tow and barges that have worked the shores of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The organization is based out of East Moline, Ill.

“Louisville fits with the vision of our organization,” Living Lands and Waters founder Chad Pegracke said. “It’s a community that cares about cleaning up its greatest natural resource and protecting the environment.”

In addition to the cleanups, Living Lands and Waters also conducted five teacher education workshops. 150 educators learned about the Ohio River’s history, its present condition and uses.

“We hope teachers will take what they’ve learned from these classes and put the lessons to work in their classrooms,” Dr. Ramsey said. “Through the education component of this partnership, we can begin to change attitudes about the importance of protecting our natural resources.”

The Partnership for a Green City, formed in 2004 by the city, the university and Jefferson County Public Schools to improve quality of life in the community by expanding environmental education, conserving resources and combing purchasing power to save taxpayer dollars.

Brightside and the Metropolitan Sewer District also helped coordinate volunteers for the cleanups. Louisville Metro Solid Waste Management will haul away the trash collected from the river to the landfill. The tires collected during the cleanup will be processed by the Kentucky Division of Waste Management.