Go Try It: Clean up some trash around the capital city

After honestly only about 5 minutes, we filled up this whole shopping bag with trash we collected from the edge of the Merrimack River at Kiwanis Riverfront Park (Everett Arena).
After honestly only about 5 minutes, we filled up this whole shopping bag with trash we collected from the edge of the Merrimack River at Kiwanis Riverfront Park (Everett Arena).

In honor of the impending Earth Day, we decided to do something related to helping the planet for this installment of Go Try It.

We wanted to stop global warming, save the polar bears, restore the coral reefs and clean up the oceans, but we kind of ran out of time toward the end of the week.

Instead, we grabbed a grocery bag and headed over to Kiwanis Riverfront Park, better known as the grassy walking and seating area along the river in the Everett Arena parking lot.

This is a nice little natural area right outside the downtown core. It’s cool to be able to walk from downtown to this little gem – popular for fishing, boating, dog walking and just relaxing.

But its proximity to downtown, the highway and, obviously, the 3,000-seat arena (which just hosted a massive, two-day gun show) means it’s also vulnerable to one of nature’s greatest problems: litter.

Many of the city’s natural resources used for recreation – such as all the walking/ hiking trails, parks, ponds, etc. – are sort of “out there,” meaning you basically have to drive to them for the specific purpose of using them. This sort of naturally keeps some (but certainly not all) litter away from these places – there are no huge conventions that ever take place at Marjory Swope Park, for example.

At the Kiwanis Riverfront Park, there’s always some big show, game or event going on at the adjacent arena, meaning lots of people with lots of trash.

On a whim, just assuming we’d find some trash there, we stopped by last Tuesday with a shopping bag in hand, ready to get to work. It was the hottest day of the year, and the park was populated by a man reading a book on a bench, a woman painting a landscape scene and, farther down, skaters tearing up the skate park. It was a beautiful day – until I looked down and saw a bulging dirty diaper just sitting there, baking in the hot sun.

It really kind of put a damper on the whole scene (I hope the diaper didn’t make it into that woman’s painting).

I started my mission right around the boat launch ramp – there’s always a lot of wayward fishing gear strewn about the shrubbery in that area, though, surprisingly, I didn’t see any last week. What I did see in that area were lots of empty bottles, including an empty “handle” of vodka.

Once I picked up everything I could see (and was comfortable grabbing with bare hands) in this area, I walked along the perimeter, keeping the water on my left. There was so much junk on the ground that I barely had the chance to pick my head up to see where I was walking.

During my 5-minute walk – that’s honestly all the time it took to fill my bag – I found and picked up the following items: an empty deodorant stick, two socks (not matching, not found together), beer cans, beer bottles, empty nip bottles, an empty Capri Sun packet, some potato chip bags, some coffee cups, candy wrappers, a bag of dog poop (why bag it just to leave it there?), a pink mouth guard, cigarette butts and a losing scratch ticket.

I like to think I made a nice dent in it, but there was still plenty more to do.

So this Earth Day, spend an easy 5 minutes picking up one of your favorite spots in our fair city. Earth will thank you!

Author: Jon Bodell

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