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Nearly 200 kayakers take to Chicago River for cleanup project

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CHICAGO -- Nearly 200 kayakers paddled the Chicago River around Goose Island Sunday for the Kayak Chicago Clean Sweep.

Items found in the river included needles, chip bags, wrappers, and a lot of branches. Even some luggage was found, as well as a tire rim and several pieces of long rope.

“In past years we've found TVs and guitars,” said Dave Olsen, owner of Kayak Chicago.

Alcott College Prep biology teacher Maggie Baier invited her freshman students to the fourth annual event.

“I really wanted to show them the importance of taking care of their community,” Baier said. “I do this every year, but I really wanted them to see where their water bottles go, plastic bags, so it was a good environmental lesson for them.”

Organizers say they're happy the city is now also doing more to keep the water clean.

“They are sanitizing the water that gets put back in the river now; the city does have some boats that come maintain the cleanliness of the river,” Olsen said.

Kayak Chicago says this isn't their only cleanup event this year: they plan to go out and do the same thing in early August.