The Guelph community has been coming together to participate in the 2Rivers Clean Up (formerly the Speed River Clean Up) since 1976. For over 37 years we would wade into the water and walk along the shore, gathering up all the visible waste we could find. This garbage was then collected by the city’s waste department while we gathered to eat, mingle and celebrate a job well done.
OPIRG-Guelph’s 37th (2012) Annual Speed River Clean Up removed 890 kg of trash from the Speed and Eramosa rivers. Though we were proud of this accomplishment, we were also disappointed that after so many years we are still battling the garbage within it; we are committed to pursuing the greater issues that contribute to the cause of river pollution.
Also in 2012, OPIRG teamed up with the 2 Rivers Festival… which grew out of our Clean Up and Speed River Project. You can check out more about this week of river health festivities at the 2 Rivers Festival Website.
The main goals of the Clean Up are to foster a sense of environmental stewardship of the Speed and Eramosa Rivers, remove any waste from the river that is harmful to aquatic life, improve water quality, and to raise awareness of the impacts of human activities on our watershed.
In 2013, OPIRG did research and talked to experts about what really is best for Guelph’s waterways. We discovered that a big river cleanup was, in fact, not the best route. The physical garbage in our rivers is not the only problem; in fact some of it actually relied upon as a needed habitat for many aquatic species.
With this knowledge, we changed tactics and began engaging in a series of actions that go to the source and work to keep pollution from ending up in our rivers. Join us as we continue to take a deeper look at what it really means to clean up the river and what we can do in our everyday lives to create change and keep our rivers healthy.