Waterways are always important.
In New Mexico – which is touched by drought every year – keeping those waterways clean takes a huge effort.
This is why the New Mexico Tourism Department worked with communities across the state to take part in the World Cleanup Day in September.
The worldwide initiative sees volunteers and partners worldwide come together to rid the planet of trash – cleaning up litter and mismanaged waste from our beaches, rivers, forests and streets.
World Cleanup Day harnesses the power of people around the world to achieve incredible things by joining together and building bridges between disparate communities, and including all levels of society – from citizens to business, to government.
In New Mexico, there was over 8,000 pounds of litter removed from New Mexico waterways.
“We witnessed a considerable surge in the use of public lands across the state as people looked to get outdoors over the past couple of years. Unfortunately, our outdoor spaces also saw an uptick in litter,” said Cabinet Secretary of Tourism Jen Paul Schroer. “The collaboration among communities to rally together for these cleanup events demonstrates our shared commitment to protecting New Mexico’s public lands for residents and visitors alike.”
According to the Keep America Beautiful 2020 National Litter Study, there are an estimated 25.9 billion pieces of litter along waterways in the United States.
Since the pandemic began, there was a significant uptick in personal protection equipment such as face masks accumulating along rivers and streams.
There are 108,000 miles of river flowing through New Mexico and four rivers in New Mexico have been designated wild and scenic.
Through the tourism department’s Clean & Beautiful Grant Program, the agency worked with local communities to organize and promote a series of waterway cleanup events on World Cleanup Day, which took place on Sept. 18, 2021. Additional cleanup events took place throughout October 2021.
According to the tourism department, nearly 300 volunteers turned out to help clean an estimated 21 miles of New Mexico waterways at a total of 10 cleanup events.
Cleanup events for this campaign occurred at the following locations:
• Albuquerque – Rio Grande • Bloomfield – San Juan River • Cliff (near Silver City) – Gila River • Doña Ana County (near Las Cruces) – Rio Grande • Farmington – Animas River • Las Vegas – Gallinas River • Roswell – Spring River • Ruidoso – Rio Ruidoso • Santa Fe – Santa Fe River • Truth or Consequences – Rio Grande