Santa Clarita hosted its’ 27th Annual River Rally Clean Up Saturday as an opportunity for the community to help clean the city’s river bed.
Volunteers poured into the event at 8 a.m. sharp, ready to clean the South Fork of the Santa Clara River.
Breakfast items, snacks, coffee and water were all free for the volunteers upon arrival.
Environmental services division representative Oliver Kramer said that the event had approximately 1,300 people registered in advance. Kramer estimated by the end of the day, the cleanup will have had around 1,4000 to 1,500 volunteers in attendance.
“We wouldn’t be able to do this without the community, without the residents’ help” said Kramer. “Everybody’s enthusiasm that we see out there and their willingness to give us their time, and their helpful hands, to help us out is really appreciated.”
Residents came from across the valley to meet one goal – to keep the community clean.
River Rally volunteer and SCV resident of 30 years, Jospeh De La Rosa, said that he and his family frequent the local bike trails on family outings. As they ride by the river, they constantly see all of the accumulated trash.
“I see a need,” said De La Rosa.
De La Rosa’s daughter is a part of her school’s DFYIT (Drug Free Youth In Town) program and the two saw the River Rally as a perfect volunteer opportunity to attend.
“’I always thought, ‘Well, who’s gonna be the ones to clean it up?’” said De La Rosa. “So I thought here’s the chance to participate and get our community clean.”
Before entering the river, volunteers were given gloves and trash bags as well as an informative session of the potential wildlife and vegetation that they may encounter in the river.
Kramer said that, on average, these city-held cleanup events accumulate about 10,000 pounds of trash and debris per event. This trash includes plastic balls, candy wrappers, chip bags, disposable cups, etc.
“This is the trash that we see that goes into the river, so we are cleaning up our portion of the river before it can flow downstream into the ocean,” said Kramer.
To further educate the volunteers on environmental issues, such as preserving the city’s local watershed, pollution prevention and recycling, an environmental expo was set up just outside of the river.
Santa Clarita’s River Rally Clean Up may just be a one-day event, but the volunteer work done will continue to inspire residents to do their part in preserving and bettering the environmental state of the community, organizers said.
“I think that when you take an interest, and you really make the effort to go around and clean and take care of it, you’re more mindful to continue to keep taking care of it because then you have an investment,” said volunteer Ann Regan.