A group of volunteers plans to spend Saturday cleaning up the Anacostia River.
The cleanup is being organized by United By Blue, a for-profit organization that sells organic and plastic-free products including shirts, bags and jewelry and also organizes cleanups such as this one across the country.
“We are kind of a unique business,” said the group’s director of cleanups, Mike Cangi. “For every product we sell, we move a pound of trash from the world’s oceans and waterways.”
Cangi said an initial visit to the river revealed large amounts of garbage being washed up onto the shore as well as a number of illegal dump sites.
“We have been looking for sites that are really in need of some major cleaning,” he said, explaining that the condition of the Anacostia River fits the bill. “It’s pretty bad.”
Cangi hopes that, with the help of Saturday’s volunteers, the group can significantly reduce the amount of garbage in the river as well as work with the local authorities to prevent people from using these illegal dump sites.
“We know that we’re not going to be able to fix the issue as a whole,” Cangi said, “but we try to raise some awareness.”
The cleanup will begin at 10 a.m. with breakfast and will end around 2 p.m., but Cangi stressed that any volunteered time is appreciated. “We encourage people to come and help out for as long or as short as they can,” he said.
Once the trash has been collected for the day, volunteers can participate in competitions for prizes, which are United By Blue products.
Regular competitions include seeing which volunteer can guess the total weight of the collected trash and seeing which volunteer has taken the most interesting picture during the cleanup.
Cangi estimates the group will have about 50 volunteers, and he encouraged anyone else to attend the cleanup, whether or not they have an opportunity to sign up online before Saturday.
Anyone looking to participate in Saturday’s cleanup can find more information at unitedbyblue.com.