WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — On Saturday many residents across Rhode Island and Massachusetts commemorated one of the largest environmental clean-ups to take place on the Blackstone River. 

The event coined “Operation ZAP” was first organized in September of 1972 by David Rosser. 10,000 people participated in the clean-up that day, according to the organization’s website, and although it is less visible today, pollutants, litter, erosion, and invasive species continue to cause problems for the Blackstone River. 

On Saturday a 12 News crew went to a clean-up site in Woonsocket, where residents were once again cleaning the Blackstone River. Woonsocket Mayor, Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, was there and spoke about how important the river is to the residents in the city. 

“We do have a lot of residents who are very involved in the community. We have folks who go out on their own and do litter picking and things like that. But in particular, our highway department and our parks and rec department they’re out every single day addressing any litter issues in general, ” said Baldelli-Hunt. 

Other Woonsocket residents also spoke about the event and why the decided to participate. 

“I’ve been coming to this park since I was a kid, so it’s nice to be able to bring the kids and see people cleaning up the area.” Said Lisa Tidwell of Woonsocket. 

Saturday’s “Operation ZAP” clean-up comes two weeks before an event at Old Slater Mill, which will be celebrating the work that has been done over the last 50 years to improve the local environment.  

The celebration is scheduled for September 10th.