The town of Westport is looking a little cleaner these days after a large group of volunteers took to the streets to clean up the roadside trash.

There was a sea of neon green as 200 volunteers marched across the town in their "Team C.O.W" volunteer shirts.

"It stands for 'Clean Our Westport'," Team Leader Martin Costa said. "I reached out to Selectman Steve Ouellette three years ago to get the green light on Team C.O.W. and as the years rolled on, we saw more and more volunteers showing up. The first year we had 25, the second year we had 50, and finally we had about 200 just this past Saturday."

Photo Courtesy of Steve Connors of Westport River Watershed Alliance (WRWA)

Costa saw a lot of people complaining on Facebook about how dirty Westport is becoming and how much trash is on the side of the road, and instead of feeding into the conversation, he launched a movement and actually did something about it.

"I was formerly the manager of Westport Camping Grounds for 45 years over by the Westport Middle School and kept that area as clean as if it were Disney Land," Costa said.

A lot of local companies and even nearby cities gathered together to help clean up the town including the United Way of Greater Fall River, National Grid, Liberty Utilities, the Westport Lion's Club, the Westport River Watershed Alliance (WRWA), the Westport Macomber School and many more.

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"I want to personally give Dr. David Ahern of Southcoast Smiles a huge shoutout for not only giving a financial donation of $650, but also sent a group of 26 volunteers to help with the clean-up," Costa said.

Baycoast Bank donated $1,000, Holmes Plumbing in Westport gave $500, Westport Rivers Vineyard gave another $500 and trash bags were donated by the ACE Hardware on Rt. 177. The money raised helped Costa purchase trash grabbers and t-shirts to keep the annual clean-up alive.

Unlike recent clean-ups, Team C.O.W. partnered up this year with the WRWA, which gave the program advice and helped process all donations so ensure that they are tax deducible.

"They take care of the cleanliness of the river and beaches so they were an ideal fit," Costa said.

Costa put together a committee of seven people who were very instrumental with organization and signing in people along with liability forms. They helped keep Team C.O.W. a well-oiled machine.

All in all, the crew of 200 filled up two industrial trash bins: one 20-yarder and one 10-yarder. The bins were filled to the brim with tires and trash bags. Costa received the state's approval to be able to cleanup the highways (Route 177 and Route 6), bringing in 57 bags alone.

Photo Courtesy of Steve Connors of Westport River Watershed Alliance (WRWA)

The state picked up the bags on Monday and Costa plans to gather a group of volunteers for one more pick-up in September. Anyone who wishes to volunteer can reach out to Costa at martincosta@charter.net.

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