it is riverblitz!
By Michele RobertsonAn oasis in the desert, Carlsbad NM is home to many citizens. The beautiful Pecos River meanders through town, offering multiple ways for these residents to recreate and play outdoors. With many people, comes much waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the average person generates about 4.9 pounds of trash per day. Multiply that by our 2019 population count from Google of 29,158 and you get a whopping total of 142,874.2 pounds of trash accumulated daily right here in Carlsbad. That weight is equal to about 5 ½ school buses worth of trash. Riverblitz 2021 marks its 22nd year as residents tackle the litter problem in our community and will take place on Saturday May 1, 2021 from 7-11 A.M. Riverblitz is an annual event aimed at cleaning up the Pecos River inside the city limits, and out in the county. What began in March of 1999 and still continues today, Riverblitz is a time where you can volunteer four hours of your time and make a positive impact on the environment around us. Michelle Perry, who, along with many other locals have been involved with Riverblitz in some way since the beginning shared, “it’s not just to pick up the trash, but to involve the people so they can see there is no need to dump and leave trash.” Over the past 19 years, 246,100 pounds or 123.05 tons of trash have been collected during the annual event. Clean-up efforts for all of last year equalled 11.2 tons, and so far volunteer efforts this year have already collected 5.44 tons of garbage. Keep Carlsbad Beautiful (KCB) Executive Director Mary Garwood said “We have such natural beauty in our area that many people are jealous of it, and it just gets taken for granted. We want people to live and visit here and enjoy the beauty of our river, but it's been taken by the trash.”“People need to realize the ability to make change lies within them,” Perry shared. It is encouraged that you take some time to visit your favorite river spot with the intent of cleaning it up. There will be bins located at the Rec Center for volunteers to bring the trash they collect, as well as Capitan Reef Road, Avalon, 6 mile dam, and behind the mall. Please take your trash to one of these locations so that it can be weighed. It is important for the records to show how much volunteers collect each year.The desire is that events like Riverblitz weren’t needed, yet they are. “ We would prefer to have a river celebration than a river clean-up,” said Perry. All clean-up supplies will be provided and can be picked up at the Rec Center starting at 7 A.M. Covid-safe practices and all NM Public Health Orders will be followed during the event. Participants are encouraged to register before May 1st by calling Mary Garwood at 575.302.7665 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.orgThere will be a Household Hazardous Waste Day on Saturday May 15th from 8 A.M. to 2 P.M. at the Carlsbad Beach parking lot. This is for residential disposal only, no commercial waste will be taken. For more information on this event call 575.628.8176.If citizens see illegal dumping in progress, they should call Eddy County Code Enforcement at 575-887-9511. If there is an area that needs attention, citizens can call the new Public Works Department grappler service at 575-885-4835, or submit a request for pick up on the Public Works page at www.EddyCounty.orgThere are free transfer stations where trash can be taken:City of Artesia transfer station, 2507 Pecos Ave. Corner of Fairgrounds/13th St convenience station in Artesia, open 6a-6pCity of Carlsbad Solid Waste convenience station, 301 E. Plaza 6:30a-4:30pHappy Valley convenience station, Happy Valley Road across from shooting range, open 6a-6pEddy County convenience station, 410 E. Derrick Rd, open 6a-6pLoving transfer station, 45 Higby Hole Rd, LovingSandpoint Landfill, 164 Landfill Rd, Carlsbad