The Impact of Dyeing the River Green

Environmental groups don't dispute the safety of the vegetable dye used in turning the Chicago River green for St. Patrick's Day, but Friends of the Chicago River does wonder about what message the annual tradition sends about the river's status.

“I think it sends a message to people that the river is not alive,” said Friends of the Chicago River Executive Director Margaret Frisbie. “Can you imagine there are actually beavers living there? Because there are. You would never do that to a beaver. … Dyeing the river green does not respect that resource.”

More than 70 species of fish have also been identified living in this improving natural habitat.

Friends thinks it's great that the river gets so much attention on St. Paddy's Day, but we also think that dying the river gives the impression that it is lifeless and artificial. Friends doesn’t think that the river should be treated as a decoration for an annual holiday, but treasured and cared for as the wonderful natural and recreational resource it deserves to be.

Friends hopes that some day this tradition will progress, like the river has, into a healthier condition.

Read more about dyeing the river green here.