Keep America Beautiful and The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk Partner in 5K Run and Litter Pickup; Volunteers Pick Up 740 Pounds of Litter and Recyclables

NORWALK, Conn. (Sept. 16, 2019) – Stamford-based national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful®, the nation’s leading community improvement nonprofit organization, and The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, joined forces on Sunday, Sept. 15, for the Keep America Beautiful Trash Dash™ 5K plogging event. More than 200 ploggers actively participated in the inaugural Trash Dash, ultimately picking up 740 pounds of litter along the route.

The two organizations, along with Keep America Beautiful local affiliate Keep Norwalk Beautiful and the City of Norwalk, partnered in advance of World Cleanup Day and the International Coastal Cleanup (both on Sept. 21) to prevent litter from entering Long Island Sound by conducting Connecticut’s first major “plog” through the streets of Norwalk. 

“Our community cares deeply about the environment and it really showed at the inaugural Trash Dash. I am grateful to the volunteers who spent Sunday morning with us – they really made an impact,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling. 

At the Trash Dash, ploggers received either a reusable trash or recyclables bag, gloves, and a litter picker to pick up the materials. At the end of the 5K, each plogger’s trash and recyclables were weighed, separated, and sorted for proper processing. Among the totals picked up included 284 pounds of recyclables and 456 pounds of trash. There were 377 recyclable bottles and cans picked up along the Trash Dash route.
“The Keep America Beautiful Trash Dash focused on raising awareness about the blight of litter, which is both the smallest and largest problem at the same time,” said Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Helen Lowman. “We’re especially concerned with litter in coastal communities, where stormwater run-off can act like a ‘litter highway’ to our waterways, including Long Island Sound. The enthusiasm on display with corporate teams, families, and concerned citizens all volunteering to help make Norwalk cleaner, greener, and more beautiful was very gratifying.”

Plogging, a combination of jogging and picking up litter, started as an organized activity in Sweden around 2016 because of growing concerns about litter and marine debris and has since spread to other countries. Keep America Beautiful and its more than 600 community-based affiliates are leading this trend in the United States by conducting plogs to make their communities cleaner, safer, healthier, and more beautiful. 

“This fun plogging event benefits both the health of the Sound and the health of the ploggers,” said Aquarium spokesman Dave Sigworth. “Whether you walk or run the 5K, whether you fill one trash bag or 10, you and the environment both come out winners.”

The festivities also featured fun activities for children including access to The Maritime Aquarium’s seal exhibit, “Shark & Ray Touch Pool,” and virtual reality experiences.

Title Sponsor of the Keep America Beautiful Trash Dash is Dart Container Corporation. Additional sponsors included Gold Sponsor Sazerac Company, and Bronze Sponsors UPS and Derma-E.

About The Maritime Aquarium
The Maritime Aquarium is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to educate visitors about – and to create stewards for – Long Island Sound. It accomplishes this by allowing visitors to get close to more than 250 species native to the Sound and its watershed, including sharks, seals, sea turtles, river otters, jellyfish and other animals. One of the top places for family fun in Connecticut, the Aquarium also features hands-on educational programs and displays, public study cruises out onto the Sound, and Connecticut’s largest IMAX movie theater, with a screen that’s six stories high. reviewers rate The Maritime Aquarium as one of the Top 20 aquariums in the U.S. and No. 1 in New England. Learn more at

About Keep America Beautiful 
Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s leading community improvement nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful strives to End Littering, Improve Recycling and Beautify America’s Communities. We believe everyone has a right to live in a clean, green and beautiful community, and shares a responsibility to contribute to that vision. 

Behavior change – steeped in education, research and behavioral science – is the cornerstone of Keep America Beautiful. We empower generations of community and environmental stewards with volunteer programs, hands-on experiences, educational curricula, practical advice and other resources. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the collaborative support of corporate partners, social and civic service organizations, academia, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Donate and take action at