Stop Tradition of Polluting River With Toxic Dyes

Target: Lori Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago

Goal: Stop the tradition of dumping green dye into the Chicago River for St. Patrick’s Day

Every year for St. Patrick’s Day, the Chicago River is dyed green. Chicago is known for their giant celebrations of St. Patrick’s day, but activists are urging an end to this tradition that is polluting the river. Forty pounds of dye are dumped into the river and the effects last up to 48 hours. The original dye used in 1966 was allegedly oil-based, and activists argued that it was toxic and doing damage to the river. After these complaints the dye was switched to a power vegetable-based dye, but river advocates are still concerned about how the tradition may be affecting wildlife.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has never granted a permit for the use of the dyes being dumped into the river. This means it is unknown what is actually in the dye and how it is affecting the water and wildlife. After the parade was canceled in 2020, Mayor Lightfoot allowed the tradition to take place both last and this year. While many watched and celebrated, activists urge the majority to think about the wildlife being affected by dyes dumped into their homes. Friends of the Chicago River have long been opposed to the tradition and have wanted to see it gone. They believe dyeing the river green sends a message that the river is not valuable and anyone can throw anything into it without permission or consequence. Demand the Mayor to stop the tradition and keep the river clean and safe.


Dear Mayor Lightfoot,

It is unclear whether the dyes dumped into the Chicago River for St. Patrick’s Day are safe. With no permit being involved in the process, it leaves a question of whether the green dye is affecting the river and wildlife negatively. Activists have been urging for years to stop this tradition. The Chicago River is already polluted and does not need any more damage being done to it. This tradition could put wildlife living in the river at a greater risk of being exposed to toxins. We demand an immediate end to the age old tradition that dumps unknown dye into the river.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: sam99929

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