This doesn’t even sound possible due to volume alone, but Chad Pregracke has dedicated a large portion of the past 13 years of his life to cleaning up the rivers of America. Since his 17th birthday, Pregracke has collected 70 million pounds of trash—with the help of many volunteers, of course—and is known as the Hardest Working Man in America.
Pregracke has formed over 500 cleanups and is an inspiration to us all. If he can do this—starting at just the age of 17—imagine how much we could all do if we worked together. If we all pledged to clean up a river or stream just once this year, it would surely create a massive impact.
I don’t know about other states, but in Missouri we have a Stream Team program where you can sign up to help clean up waterways, monitor water pollution, and do other volunteer projects to help keep the waters of Missouri clean. So even though this is a central state without ocean access, we still have programs to get volunteers active in water stewardship—so I would imagine that states that actually touch the ocean have even more programs to become involved with. Visit your local conservation department, city hall, or just search for volunteer opportunities online to see how you can help.