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The Boston Globe


Devoted to cleaning the Charles River

As Tom McNichol pilots his motor boat past Soldiers Field Road, Harvard, and MIT, you wonder whether he’s full of it. The Charles River, he’d boasted before the trip, is always a mess after the annual July Fourth fireworks spectacular. “I guarantee trash,” he’d proclaimed. But the river looks clean — really clean — with barely a bottle cap floating by.

McNichol, captain of the Charles River Clean Up Boat, has been at this for 10 years, though. As he putts up to the Hatch Memorial Shell, a vast array of garbage comes into view: soda cans, coffee cups, candy wrappers, tennis balls, energy drink bottles, Tupperware containers, wine corks, even shoes, all floating amid the thickets.

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