By Travis Clark
Grammy-winning hip-hop artist Macklemore may be one of the biggest rappers in the world right now, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t take time out of his busy schedule to keep up with his hometown, Seattle.
Recently a campaign was launched to raise awareness and help clean up Seattle’s Duwamish River. The campaign, called River For All, is a community effort that includes workers, tribes, families, fishermen and anyone who is concerned with the care of the river. With Macklemore’s advocacy, awareness has grown substantially in a very short time.
The Duwamish River is one of the most toxic waste sites in the nation, due primarily to years of industrial pollution, but has historical significance to fishermen whose tribes have treaty rights to the river’s natural resources. As the river provides many Seattleites with income and food, the campaign is calling for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help clean up the river, therefore ensuring good health for those who rely on the river’s resources.
The EPA currently has a plan for cleaning up the river, but one that remains uncertain. It’s called natural recovery, which instead of removing pollution, monitors the river bottom to see if newer cleaner deposits bury the contaminated mud over time.
James Rasmussen, coordinator for the River Cleanup Coalition, thinks more should be done. “These communities need our full protection, and that means removing more of the toxic waste,” he says.
The group will continue to rally for the EPA’s involvement and a more certain, steadfast recovery effort. In the meantime, a billboard featuring Macklemore on Highway 99 South approaching the river continues to raise awareness.
“We are Seattle. No bridge, boundaries, or invisible, man-made lines divide us,” says Macklemore. “This our home, our people and our community. This is our city’s only river.”
To learn more about the clean-up coalition and its efforts, click here.