NGRREC Invites Public to Plastic Pollution Initiative River Clean-up

Article by: Jan Dona, L&C Media Services,

EAST ALTON – The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠) invites the public to a river clean-up event at the Jerry Costello Confluence Field Station.

The clean-up is scheduled from 1-4 p.m., Saturday, April 10.

The event is part of a Plastic Pollution Initiative developed by the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI).

“This is a coordinated effort among towns throughout the Mississippi River watershed to collaborate on collecting baseline data,” NGRREC Director of Environmental Education Sarah Fisher said. “It’s an effort to measure the different types and amount of plastic pollution entering our watershed and making its way to the gulf coast.”

St. Louis, along with Baton Rouge, Louisiana and St. Paul, Minnesota, have been selected as pilot locations along the Mississippi River where data on plastic pollution will be collected and recorded.

The litter collected will be tracked using the Marine Debris Tracker app. The data will be used to generate a plastic pollution map and highlight key problem areas. It will also generate a critical baseline for decision makers in both the private and public sectors.

Supplies, such as vests, gloves, litter grabbers and trash bags will be provided to all volunteers. Volunteers are asked to visit NGRREC’s Facebook event page and confirm their plans to attend so adequate supplies will be available. The event can be found at

Masks are required.

Participants are asked to make sure their cell phones are fully charged and to bring their charges as the app uses a significant amount of battery. A charging station will be available.

To learn about the Marine Debris Tracker app, visit To view a demonstration on how to use the app, visit

The Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative is a collaborative effort with the MRCTI, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the University of Georgia and the National Geographic Society. Find more information at

For more information on this event or any educational opportunity offered by NGRREC, contact Fisher at

National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠)

Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them. The center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities. To learn more about NGRREC, visit