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Not Loving That Dirty Water: Volunteers Clean Up The Charles

BOSTON (CBS) - Boston's spectacular fireworks show featured big fun and big crowds, but what the crowd leaves behind has to be picked up, on land and in the water.

It's a simple yet difficult goal: keep the Charles free of trash.

That a job makes it July 5 of the busiest days of the year for the Charles River Clean Up Boat.

"We're on the river 4 days a week. We basically clean the flotsam and jetsam in the water," said Mitch Lunin, a volunteer who captains the boat.

They use basic tools, nets and hooks to fish all manner of debris from the Charles.

From May to October about 200 volunteers take turns crewing the clean up boat, but the day after the Independence Day concert is their Super Bowl.

"We've gotten a lot from the 4th of July, a lot of bottles and plastic bags. And it kind of feels good. Every piece you take out you feel you're making the world a little better," said Abby Ryan, who worked on the boat for the first time today.

The Charles River Clean Up Boat (WBZ-TV)

"It's a real treasure for Boston. It's an honor to come out and help keep it clean," said volunteer Mike Bello.

"This is my home. I grew up in Newton and this is what I need to help preserve," added Sabrina Stehly as she looks out at the river.

"It's a great sense of satisfaction. You enjoy it, but at the same time you're aware of what could be in there that you can fish out," said volunteer Tasha Bello.

And they never know what they'll find.

According to Lunin, one time the crew "picked up the door of a dorm refrigerator with a beer in it, and the next day we picked up the rest of the refrigerator."

And the years of work are paying off.

"People are becoming a lot more aware, and I can feel it and I can see it on the river. And it gives me really good hope," said volunteer Susan Lunin.

The clean up boat has been doing its work for 15 years. The entire operation is run by volunteers, but they always need a hand paying for gas and boat maintenance.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Mike Macklin reports

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