Rock City Clean Streets kicked off this week’s community cleanup on Tuesday and hopes to attract more volunteers as the weekend edges closer, finishing with a seven-day tidying effort of frequented communal spaces next Monday.
Kitty Edwards, from DPNR’s Coastal Zone Management division, said the program was started after the 2017 hurricanes.
“We saw a lot of people cleaning beaches and underwater cleanups, but as we were getting closer to cruise ships coming back, we wanted to put attention on areas that are often ignored and do community cleanups,” Edwards said.
While Rock City Clean Streets started with two cleanups, one downtown and one focusing on the road leading to Hull Bay where runoff occurs, Edwards said it has continued because it’s an idea that she really likes.
“We have a lot of issues with litter and runoff so all these areas that have trash blowing around, we want to make sure we pay attention to them too. So when deciding on locations I looked at a map and talked to people who worked downtown and targeted areas that tend to catch a lot of trash,” Edwards said.
On Tuesday, Guttets Gade, where Magic Ice used to reside, was cleared of trash by a group of volunteers who met at 10 a.m. On Wednesday Raadets Gade was targeted for cleanup.
Participation has been low during the work week, Edwards said, but she expected that.
“One of the reasons that I chose to do this for seven days in a row was that I wanted to hit anybody who works in any industry. As we move into the end of the week, or the weekend, I hope to get more participation from those with traditional nine to five jobs,” she said.
The cleanups meet at 10 a.m. each day of the week and Monday of next week, completing a seven-day cycle. Edwards said everyone is welcome to join and all ages are invited to participate.
Volunteers should come prepared with gloves, a refillable water bottle and sun protection. If, for whatever reason, this week is difficult for some to make it, Edwards said there will be another cleanup Oct. 12 in Frenchtown, meeting at the Quetel Fish House.
But while Edwards is ready to do more, she hopes it won’t take many.
“As far as areas I would like to hit in the future, honestly none. I do a lot of waste reduction education and my hope, which may be unrealistic, is that as a community we learn to stop using single-use plastics, which is primarily 99 percent of what our trash is and what we pick up. As the community learns to live without these items maybe the cleanups won’t be as necessary,” Edwards said.