Volunteers pose for a photo in War Memorial Park.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Global and local non-profits organized large groups of people to clean up various parts of the city last month.

On April 9, public works employees from both Franklin and New Brunswick joined the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership (LRWP)—and over one hundred volunteers—to clean up areas near the Mile Run Brook.

A couple of weekends later, about 75 people gathered in New Brunswick’s Boyd Park on April 24 to participate in a cleanup and beautification of the park orchestrated by the New York-based International WeLoveU Foundation.

In addition to the Hub City event, the foundation also held cleanups in New York and Florida on the same day.

The Boyd Park Beautification Project volunteers pose in front of the garbage they collected.

The cleanup project titled officially as the “Boyd Park Beautification Project” was a joint effort by WeLoveU Foundation, the City of New Brunswick, and Software House International (SHI), specifically its employee resource group (ERG) Black Culture Collective.

Volunteers re-paint the amenities at Boyd Park.

The beautification project was part of an international effort by the foundation to honor and celebrate Earth Day.

They did more than just pick up trash. Railings were painted, seeds were planted, and garbage bins were decorated.

WeLoveU has been organizing cleanups since 2009 with what they call their “Clean WORLD Movement.”

“A 2021 Clean Ocean Action report on dumping in parks highlighted that New Jersey parks are
experiencing an increase in the dumping and littering of disposable gloves and used masks,” reads a press release by WeLoveU Foundation.

“While [personal protective equipment] litter is becoming more apparent amid COVID-19, litter data still shows that more than 70% of the trash in parks is from single-use plastics such as food wrappers, bottles, caps, and shopping bags.

“In time, waste not removed from the parks may move into waterways and break down into microplastics, which ultimately end up in our oceans and are mistakenly ingested by both marine life and humans.”

Mayor Cahill stands with the environment organizers from the internationally recognized WeLoveU Foundation.

Mayor James Cahill was present at the April 24 cleanup event.

“The WeLoveU Foundation is proud to partner with SHI on this beautification project. As dumping and littering is a problem caused by people, we must work together towards a solution,” explained a representative.

“With climate change, global warming, and environmental pollution, the home of all living things is getting sick. WeLoveU hopes today’s partnership will inspire other companies and individuals to act for our environment.”

WeLoveU has organized cleanups in 58 countries and is associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications.

The other organization that led a major cleanup is here is a watchdog for the local watershed.

The objectives of Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership are to restore, enhance, and conserve the Lower Raritan Watershed, also known as Also known as “New Jersey Watershed Management Area 9,” and the natural resources therein.

The LRWP achieves these goals through science, stewardship, education, community building, and innovation.

They conduct stormwater measurements, maintain partnerships with municipalities, and monitors water quality and pathogens in the Raritan River.

LRWP said the Mile Run cleanup led to collection of 133 bags of trash, weighing 3,325 pounds.

The total number of bags of recycling collected was 52, weighing 780 pounds.

“Cleanups are a one-off event for anyone who wants to volunteer on the side,” explains Amy Braunstein, a board member at LRWP who also helped to start this news outlet.

“It’s nice to see what we can accomplish together.”

Both of the groups that spearheaded the April cleanups moved on to host successful events in other Middlesex County communities.

On May 1, LRWP hosted a “Build Your Own Rain Barrel” event at Highland Park’s Earth Day celebration, where participants learned how to recycle, collect and store their own rainwater for sustainable gardening and other purposes.

That same day, the WeLoveU Foundation was in South Amboy cleaning up the Raritan Bay Waterfront Park, in partnership with Amazon.

More information about the organizations can be found at their respective websites: weloveuusa.org and lowerraritanwatershed.org

Reporter at New Brunswick Today

Molly O'Brien is a law student and reporter in the city of New Brunswick.

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Molly O'Brien

Molly O'Brien is a law student and reporter in the city of New Brunswick.