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In Your Opinion: Rutgers Prep Students Commended For D&R Canal Towpath Cleanup

Rutgers Prep students pitched in and cleaned up part of the Delaware & Raritan Canal towpath. (Photo: Franklin Township Environmental; Commission.)

Submitted by the Franklin Township Environmental Commission.

Earlier this year, the Franklin Township Environmental Commission was contacted by Rutgers Prep senior student, Christian Wright. Christian contacted us because he noticed that during the pandemic our environment became increasingly more polluted not only with the typical single-use items but also with personal protective equipment (PPE) that came with the pandemic, such as face masks and gloves. As the Rutgers Prep campus is located near the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park and the Raritan River, the Franklin Environmental Commission suggested Christian and his team start the cleanup with the D&R Canal towpath adjacent to the school campus. This area is experiencing pollution from littering.

With a little help from the Environmental Commission, Christian was able to organize a school wide community service event on July 16th. The group of 6 volunteers split into two groups and collected litter two miles up and down the towpath in each direction from their school, respectively.

The cleanup was a success as the students collected one large trash bag. Although it was a bit hot and humid out there, they remain enthused to continue this activity at other parks and locations in Franklin Township to keep our outdoor spaces clean!

Christian is a role model and inspiration for other youth and students from Township schools. We invite other high schoolers to join Christian Wright as there are many community sharing areas in our town that need cleanup: Durham Lebed Park, Middlebush Park, Inman Park, Naaman Williams Park, Six Mile Run Preserve, Castleton Park, other portions of D&R Canal State Park located at Franklin and Consovoy Park.

In addition, community clean up events are good opportunities to bring awareness about the upcoming state-wide ban on single use plastic. As we continue to clean up now and after its implementation, we can measure the impact of the ban. The state law will phase-in soon and will be in full effect by May 2022.

Interested individuals can contact Rutgers Prep Director of Summer and Community Programs Meredith Santowasso, msantowasso@rutgersprep.org.

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