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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Blackstone Watershed Cleanup Seeks Volunteers

In September 1972, 10,000 volunteers lined the banks of the Blackstone River to remove tons of trash, appliances, furniture, even cars and a school bus from its banks. Called Operation ZAP (zero away pollution), it was the largest one-day regional environmental clean-up in American history.

Now, 50 years later, ZAP50 is planning to replicate those efforts and match the number of volunteers for a massive cleanup on August 27 throughout the Blackstone Valley Watershed, from Pawtucket, Rhode Island up to Worcester, Massachusetts. Today, there are still many challenges facing the Blackstone River: pollutants, litter, erosion, invasive species and maintaining downriver debris.

Building a team of volunteers, ZAP50 organizers are encouraging people to get involved as event planners, promoters, community organizers and sponsors. ZAP50 is asking that people share the history of the Blackstone River and ZAP with their schools and organizations to help build momentum.

A celebration will follow on September 10, 20221, at the Old Slater Mill Historic Landmark, to recognize and honor (and party with) everyone that has contributed to improving the health of the Blackstone River Valley.

To learn more and to volunteer, visit