You can tell that this wasn’t a recent photo because of the short-sleeved shirts. It’s hard to believe that two months have passed since I attended a boat parade on the Passaic River organized by Saddle Brook, NJ resident Rick Rodriguez. So much seemed to be going on in my life that I wondered if I would ever have the time to write about this event.
But better late than never, and the work that this recreational activity springs from—the clean-up of this river—is both ongoing and urgently needed for anyone who cares about the quality of life in Northern New Jersey.
Mr. Rodriguez—or, as he is nicknamed, “River Man”—has striven over time to remove trash and debris from the waterway. The event he organized on a Saturday afternoon early this fall aimed at changing how people see the Passaic River—an unfortunate industrial dump to some, but to him a “splendiferous lady,” to quote a phrase of his in an article on his quest in The Bergen Record back then.
Too bad that industry isn’t stopping up, imaginatively and aggressively, to purify the river the way Mr. Rodriguez has. Instead, as Scott Fallon points out in an article from The Record this past weekend, a group of 70 companies are seeking to extricate themselves from footing the bill for the most expensive toxic cleanup in New Jersey history by trading contaminated fish pulled from the river for cleaned ones.
Their “plan” is to clean up “hot spots” in the river rather than the wider expanse that the Environmental Protection Agency is advocating. Go on and believe this, if you wish. But, with a number of these companies among the firms originally responsible for polluting the river in the first place, it all sounds like a fishy tale to me.