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Chicago River Colored Green for St. Patrick’s Day

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Chicago River Colored Green for St. Patrick’s Day

Credit: Unsplash

St. Patrick’s Day has arrived, and, like every year, the city of Chicago, Illinois is fully immersed in it. The entire city is adorned in Irish green themes, and the locals are all set to celebrate. However, more fascinating than that is the revival of an annual custom that was briefly paused during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. To mark St. Patrick’s Day, the Chicago River has been tinted a vivid shamrock green.

This custom has been maintained since the 1950s, when Mayor Richard J Daley introduced a chemical concoction into the water to identify the source of an ongoing pollution issue. As a consequence, these substances turned the waters a vibrant green, delighting the populace. In the 60s, the chemicals were replaced by a more gentle plant-based dye, and it has been a yearly practice ever since.

While the green river brings joy and festivity, local conservationists have been advocating for the cessation of this tradition for years. Margaret Frisbie, the executive director of Friends of the Chicago River, expressed concerns, stating, “Tinting the river reinforces the idea that it can be handled in any manner without regard for protection as a vital natural asset.” Frisbie shared her thoughts with Euronews, saying, “In this moment, more than ever, our lands and water bodies require safeguarding, and our customs must adapt to embody that principle.”

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