News

WCBS 880 Presents ‘Living Green’ Episode 6: Recycling A River

Riverfront Park - Newark, NJ (credit: Newark Riverfront Revival)

Riverfront Park – Newark, NJ (credit: Newark Riverfront Revival)

This special weeklong “Living Green” series was produced by WCBS 880’s Rivka Oppenheim. If you missed the previous pieces, click here.

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - A New Jersey river ravaged by toxic chemicals decades ago is slowly being brought back to life, WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot reported.

WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot On The Story

It was along the Passaic River that Agent Orange was made for the Vietnam war. Some of the dioxin was dumped in the river.

The river is currently home to sludge, chemicals, poison, fish you wouldn’t want to eat, and even human bodies still found and pulled ashore.

Park planners however envision kids in canoes and rafts in the river.

Alongside three lanes of one-way traffic on Raymond Boulevard in Newark, you can now see what just might be the next beautiful park around there.

“It’s fantastic. So, this was a 13-acre parcel that was a brownfield, an under-utilized piece of property,” Baykeeper Debbie Mans told Cabot. “So the vision that the city of Newark has really laid out in their waterfront plan is ribbon of green that goes down into Downtown Newark. They’ll be a dock. Hopefully we’ll be launching kayaks down into the river soon.”

Cabot wondered if Mans would actually go in the river or advise people to swim in it.

“Right now, because of the combined sewers, especially after rainfall events, it’s not advisable to swim in the river. We still have some ways to go to improve the water quality,” said Mans. “But, you know, building parks like this will make people demand that the river gets cleaned up because now they’ll be able to see it. They’ll be wanting to get into it. And until you bring people down to it, they’re not going to make those demands of people. So, we’re really excited about the park.”

Aboard a boat on the Passaic River - Newark, NJ (credit: Newark Riverfront Revival)

Aboard a boat on the Passaic River - Newark, NJ (credit: Newark Riverfront Revival)

Mans said it has been decades since there was a safe place to get into the water. But she said part of the new Riverfront Park will be a floating dock.

(credit: Newark Riverfront Revival)

(credit: Newark Riverfront Revival)

“So hopefully, you know, within the next few months, maybe in the next year, we’ll be able to pick up people and people will be able to launch kayaks safely from the floating dock right here in downtown Newark,” said Mans.

What do you think of the plan? Do you think the river will ever get cleaned up? Sound off in the comments section below.