SPRINGFIELD – On Monday, a resolution introduced by State Representative Jackie Haas (R-Kankakee) to declare September as River Clean Up Month in Illinois was adopted in the House of Representatives. House Resolution 169 is a bipartisan resolution to encourage chambers of commerce, visitors bureaus, and other area groups to coordinate local cleanup activities along portions of rivers and waterways in their area.
“Illinois rivers are intrinsic to our ecosystems and our state culture,” said Rep. Haas. “However, when trash is disposed of in our beautiful waterways it damages the visual aesthetic and biological qualities of these critical bodies of water. I am proud to have bipartisan support on this resolution to promote citizen participation in keeping our communities and natural habitats clean and healthy.”
HR 169 declares September as River Clean Up Month because water levels are usually low, temperatures are warm, and schools are in session. This presents an educational opportunity to involve area youth and highlight the importance of clean rivers and waterways.
“Whether you’re in a church group, community organization, or leading Scout troops, everyone can chip in to safely organize river clean ups in their communities,” Rep. Haas continued. “Knowing how important the Kankakee River is to the 79th District, we can extend this across Illinois and connect as a state in preserving our phenomenal natural resources.”
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, mismanaged trash that escapes into waterways can affect water quality, endanger plants and animals, and pollute outdoor spaces. Scientists have also found at least 558 species are reported to have ingested or become entangled in plastic waste. Litter can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria, spread disease, and may cause fires. A 2009 Keep America Beautiful study found the U.S. spends about $11.5 billion per year to clean up litter.