Q: What does Charles River Clean Up Boat (CUB) do/ what is the mission?
A: We strive to keep the Charles River litter-free. The Boat travels down a 7-mile stretch of the Charles between Watertown/Newton and Boston/Cambridge, from the Community Rowing Boathouse to the Zakim Bridge. As the daily captain pilots the boat, volunteers scoop any floating trash out of the River and dump it into large garbage bins aboard the boat. The River is cleaner by day’s end.
Q: How prevalent is the need for this service?
A: Since CUB’s founding in 2004, we have cleared thousands of pounds of floating trash from the Charles River.
Q: What inspired the creation of this organization
A: Tom McNichol, avid boater and retired professional, decided to take action against the deterioration of the Charles River in 2004. Today, thanks to government legislation and organizations like the CUB and the Charles River Watershed Association, it is the cleanest urban river in the country.
A: Some major sponsors include Boston Duck Tours, CSX, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Garden CLub of the Back Bay, Esplanade Association, Patagonia Boston and the Boston Museum of Science. See the full list of sponsors here.
Q: Who benefits from the CUB’s work?
A: We believe our cleanups serve all of Boston. Boston residents enjoy the scenery of a clean River, as do tourists who are drawn to the area (the Charles is one of the most photographed spots in Boston). The local economy thus also benefits from this tourism.
Q: What was the state of the Charles before organizations like the CUB and CRWA stepped in?
A: The Charles was once one of the most polluted rivers in the United States. Until the 1990s, it was riddled with untreated sewage, toxic bacteria and trash. The federal government and local organizations made strides in the mid 1990s to clean up the riverbank and esplanade, but their efforts left a disproportionate amount of floating trash remaining on the River’s surface.