DINGMANS FERRY –Tires, trash, and other debris were just some of what volunteers spent their day dragging out of the Delaware River during the 25th annual cleanup.
Dozens of canoes took to the Delaware River in the Delaware Water Gap area looking for trash.
It’s the 25th year of the annual volunteer cleanup effort that 83-year-old Ruth Jones started herself, a quarter century ago.
“We noticed it was becoming pretty heavily trashed. I said, ‘We need to do something about this and if we’re going to do it, let’s do it right,'” said Jones.
Many of the volunteers, including Don Thompson, come back every year to help with the effort.
“This is one of our most precious resources up here is water, and this is our back yard. This is where we live, just giving back to our community,” said Thompson of Dingmans Ferry.
Thompson and his son started the heavy lifting early, finding tires and what appeared to be an old hot water tank that had filled with sand. But they said they’ve found stranger things in years past.
“Our first year we pulled out engine blocks, transmission pieces, fenders, mostly car parts,” Thompson recalled.
For the past 25 years, these volunteers have pulled nearly 440 tons of trash out of the Delaware River, but most commonly they’ll pull out things like water bottles.
“In the beginning, Budwiser was king of the river. Now it’s plastic water bottles,” said Jones.
Volunteers said the amount of trash seems to dwindle each year, but they also said they never see the need for the cleanup going away.
“You can never get rid of all the littler. You can pick litter one day, and then go the next day and trust me, you’re going to see that litter,” said Carol Cummings of Pocono Pines.
Thanks to their efforts, more than 8,500 tires have been taken out, and 8,500 pounds of aluminum cans are gone, helping to keep the Delaware River clean for everyone, including the wildlife that calls it home.