PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh’s three rivers are iconic, ever changing, and essential to us thriving and surviving in what we call home. A local nonprofit is trying fix the ongoing problem impacting our waterways and it’s making us proud to be from Pittsburgh.
From empty plastic bottles, tires to even folding lawn chairs, they’re all floating or laying along the riverbanks of our three rivers. It’s a disgusting sight that once brought shame to our city, but since 2003 Evan Clark and the Tireless project been working to change that.
“It’s crucial to get all the plastic in garbage out of the river and to give people the opportunity to know that they can make a difference,” said Evan Clark.
Each month Clark brings out volunteers to help clean up thousands of pounds of garbage which impact wildlife and our communities. The Tireless Project is part of Allegheny Cleanways which works to clean up both waterways and land throughout the county. While people tend to dump things like tires, and propane tanks, other times things like balls get washed in the rivers from other creeks and tributaries.
Clean up trips are making a difference; wildlife is coming backing and our rivers are healthier.
“Earlier in the century there might have been six species of fish out here, a couple types of carps and catfish and now there’s close to 100 species of fish,” said Clark. “The thing that everybody recognizes is that we’re able to support top predators now, we have Bald Eagles, living in the county and in Pittsburgh in specific.”
And it’s noticeable to those who use our rivers, like angler Anton Williams. He’s been fishing theses rivers for more than 20 years and can see big difference with every cast.
“The rivers back to life now,” said Anton Williams of Pittsburgh. “So, there’s a lot of action out here.”
In the last 18 years Clark and the tireless project have collected more than 600,000 pounds of garbage just along the water and riverbanks in Allegheny county. A large number that is helping even larger number of fish return to our waterways.
“Well, if I’m fishing like I have been, he’s doing a great job,” said Williams.
The Tireless Project is hosting cleaning up events this September along the Ohio river. They are looking for volunteers of all ages and you can learn more by clicking here.