Volunteers gather for the Rivers Alive Waterway Cleanup at Dudley Park in Athens, Georgia, on Saturday, October 21, 2023. (Photo/ Nick Ladd)

Fighting Pollution: How Athens Residents are Keeping Rivers Alive

Athens residents and local groups came together early in the morning on Oct. 21 for the annual Athens Rivers Alive event. Their mission: to clean and revitalize the county’s polluted creeks, rivers, streams and trails.

Rivers Alive, a statewide Georgia volunteer waterway cleanup program, celebrates its 25th annual cleanup this year. The program’s volunteers have collectively been able to clean 36,799 miles of the state’s waterways.

 Why It’s Newsworthy: Water pollution poses a significant concern due to its widespread impact on public health and ecosystems. In Athens and various other regions, waterways directly link to residents’ drinking water, affecting both health and finances. 

Since the start of the program in 1999, volunteers of the events have given almost 2 million hours into retrieving over 12 million pounds of garbage from the state’s waterways.

Nick Ladd is a senior majoring in journalism at the University of Georgia.



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