Maplewood is clean and green and so is the east branch of the Rahway River that runs through Memorial Park, thanks to the Environmental Advisor Committee and about 40 volunteers — most of them children — who came out on a glorious day to pick up trash in the river.
“We're doing this to keep the Rahway River clean,” said Sheila Baker Gujral, a member of the Environmental Advisor Committee. “We didn't do all of the Earth Day activities (two weeks ago) because of the school break. So we're doing this one now.”
The Rahway, which runs through South Orange, Maplewood and Millburn, will become part of a between the three towns, according to Baker Gujral.
Kids of all ages came out to pick up trash in and along the banks of the river from the parking lot near Columbia High School to the bridge at Baker Street. One group was a Girl Scout troop based mainly at Tuscan Elementary School, Junior Troop 21209. They came to put in hours towards the Bronze Award, which is a community service project.
“The Bronze Award is the highest award a Junior scout can earn,” said Marguerite Kret, leader of Troop 21209. “The girls have chosen the theme of the environment. They want to give the message to the community that taking care of our environment is important.”
Even the mayor, Vic DeLuca, came out to give a hand.
“It's a great day and a great turn out,” said DeLuca. “I'd like to compliment the Department of Health and the Green Team for pulling this together.”
An estimated 50 pounds of garbage were pulled from the river and its banks near the Civic House, but more than three times that amount was collected upstream at Gleasons Cleaners, including old rusty pipes found in the river.
Robert Roe, Maplewood’s health officer, when asked why the board of health was involved in a river clean up, answered, “There is no separation between health and the environment. A healthy environment equals healthy people.”