(Above) Volunteers help clean trash along the north branch of the Chicago River.
22-Feb-19 A $70,000 grant from Mars Wrigley Foundation will help tidy seven miles of the north branch of the Chicago River.
Friends of the Chicago River says thanks to the grant, they will expand their Litter Free Chicago River project north of North Avenue to Foster Avenue, starting in March.
Although there has been significant improvement in water quality and general health of the Chicago River, litter remains a stubborn problem, according to Margaret Frisbie, executive director of the 10,000-member nonprofit organization.
She says along the north branch, the curves and movement of the river cause small whirlpools to form that trap litter near seawalls and small bends and under bridges. The trash is mostly wrappers, plastic bags, disposable packaging, and bottles.
This litter is devastating to wildlife and a deterrent to people, says Frisbie (left), and as development continues it will only increase.
Friends of the Chicago River says since 2016, they have removed tons of trash from the north branch. Last fall, the organization started collecting data about the locations, movement, and types of litter in the river.
The grant will help Friends of the Chicago River identify more locations and causes of the trash.