Volunteers working to clean up LI's waterways

This group of dedicated volunteers is helping to clean up Long Island’s waterways one small scrap of garbage at a time.
“In my short lifetime, things went from a paradise to a garbage dump, and you kind of wonder what happened and what you can do to fix it," says Rob Weltner, President of Operation SPLASH.
Operation SPLASH, an environmental initiative operated by volunteer captains and crew members, began back in 1990 with just a few dozen people.
Today, about 3,500 members have jumped on board the non-profit, which has 7 boats docked from Long Beach to Lindenhurst.
Its volunteers have picked up more than two million pounds of trash to date.
All in a day’s work, the volunteers fill up between one and four bags with garbage usually consisting of plastic, cans, bottles, wood and rubber.
“One unordinary thing we found was a jeep-- a jeep on the marsh, and we salvaged it. We took back the front grill and the two fenders,” recalls Jimmy Gallo, an Operation SPLASH Boat Captain.
Aside from collecting garbage, Operation Splash  has collaborated on the funding and installation of more than 4,000 street storm drain inserts across Nassau County, and also hosts an educational program and bay tours.
“Not only are you doing a good thing, and it’s good exercise, and it’s good to be out on the water, but you’re really fond of these people that you do this with," says Laura Smith, an Operation SPLASH volunteer.
For more information about how to volunteer, you can visit www.operationsplash.org.
Boats go out, weather permitting, twice a day, seven days a week between March and November.