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Hundreds Converge on Connecticut River for Cleanup, With Unusual Finds

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Volunteers cleaned up all portions of the Connecticut River as part of the annual, multi-state effort.

More than 2,000 volunteers recently helped clean up the Connecticut River as part of the 20th anniversary of the "Source to Sea Cleanup," a multi-state effort spearheaded by the Connecticut River Watershed Council to get trash and old plastic out of the water.

Every year, Alicea Charamut said her volunteers pull about 40 to 50 tons of trash out of the Connecticut River. "Things that would either end up in the ocean or detract from aquatic habitat or the esthetics of communities," she said.

Charamut is with the Connecticut River Watershed Council. This year, she said, plastic beverage containers were the most commonly found item by volunteers. There were also lots of plastic grocery bags, car tires, and mattresses.

Then there were the unusual finds.

"Right in East Hartford, a group found a torso of a mannequin," Charamut said. "It seems like every year we have a rash of one unusual item -- and this year, it was creepy dolls."

There's no explanation for why dolls were turning up, but Charamut said if you're on the river and see a creepy doll -- or any other kind of trash -- there is an easy way to report it.

"If you find an area that needs to be cleaned up, you can go right to our web site and report it," she said. "You can put a pin on map. Tell us where it is. Tell us what kind of trash is there, how many people we might need to get out there and clean it up."

Charamut said that a trash report form has been around for about two years and she said it's a great way for volunteers to know where they need to go to make the Connecticut River a little cleaner.

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