Trash Talk: Removing Litter from the Mystic River

All too often, litter on the street ends up the Mystic River.

In partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) is developing a long-term plan to target the high-trash areas in our watershed and prevent this trash from entering the river in the first place. This April MyRWA is launching a two-phase study of litter in the watershed, and they’re inviting everyone to participate in this impactful project.

In phase one of this study––done at leisure from April 1-April 20––volunteers can help get a big picture of the overall trash problem in the watershed by performing a visual assessment of litter in priority areas. This quick and indispensable measurement helps determine the most polluted areas for further study. MyRWA will send volunteers the location and the protocol. Sites will take approximately one hour to cover and are located in Medford, Somerville, Everett and Malden.

On Earth Day, Saturday, April 21, MyRWA is hosting a cleanup event at Torbert MacDonald Park in Medford/Everett, where they will begin categorizing and removing litter from the park. Volunteers can help categorize and remove trash from around both the park and at various locations in the watershed. This helps determine what type of trash is most prevalent and where the major litter sources are located. The data collected will then inform priority decisions on how to keep the Mystic trash-free.

MyRWA is also committed to helping you reduce plastic consumption, too. The first 100 people to register will be gifted a reusable water bottle, courtesy of Wegman’s. Volunteers are invited to join MyRWA for a picnic lunch after the cleanup.

All volunteers should meet at Torbert MacDonald State Park parking lot off of Mystic Valley Parkway/Route 16 in Medford, which is accessible by public transportation (Wellington Station on the Orange Line) and has complimentary parking available. Survey volunteers will meet at Torbert MacDonald Park to go over protocol and then drive separately to survey locations.

Registration required: visit

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