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Our neighborhoods are an essential part of our life within our communities, from the parks and streets to the residential and commercial areas. Keeping them clean is one way of preserving the very neighborhoods where we spend a significant part of our lives – and community-wide clean-ups are one way to do just that.
One of the most basic ways to organize a community-wide cleaning spree is through a “Trash Clean-up” event. Not only is it an incredible way to support your community, but it is also a sustainable step to preserve the local ecosystem to the best of your abilities.
Here’s how organizing a community clean-up goes a long way to ensure future generations can reap the same fruits from earth as we are able to today.
Today, it may be a single individual polluting the environment, but it will be an entire community in the future. By organizing a community clean-up event, you will be able to instill a sense of responsibility among children and adults alike.
It Keeps the Community Disease-Free
Litter is not just an eyesore. It has the potential to disrupt your neighborhood’s ecosystem and attract rodents and insects that carry diseases. Touching, smelling, or even breathing around such harmful elements can cause an outbreak to affect the entire community and the wider population.
Again, today it may be a single community, but tomorrow it will be many more mimicking the actions. Let’s face it; there’s too much litter and not many resources to deal with it. Even if one individual learns to pick up after themselves, it will inspire the wider community, towns, cities, and even countries to do the same.
Community clean-ups are a great way to educate oneself about the importance of disposing of trash right. Understanding the difference between “dry” and “wet,” “recyclable,” and “non-recyclable” trash is crucial to ensure that landfills aren’t filled to an overwhelming extent.
Additionally, it’s important to understand how you may be contributing to water pollution without even trying. For instance, pet waste floating into the local storm drains is a major source of pollution in the rivers, lakes, and streams.
There’s a common misconception that you need to have significant funds to afford supplies for community clean-ups. However, that’s far from the truth. All you need to do is get in touch with your public works department to help you find borrowed or rented supplies. Here are all the essentials you need:
The first step is to agree on a meeting point and time. Following this, you must set the perimeters for people to pick trash up from certain locations. Once done, you will have to determine a spot to gather everyone and collect the trash collected.
Remember, the point of picking up trash is to ensure your community is clean, safe, and disease-free. If you end up dumping all of it in a way that overflows public trash cans, you will do more harm than good. Hence, you need to decide proper disposal methods for the trash you collect.
A community clean-up should never be advertised as an event as it creates false expectations among individuals. They may show up in hopes of having fun or socializing. Therefore, make sure to be responsible when getting the word out.
Encourage people to bring reusable materials such as bottles and other supplies. Most importantly, if you are providing the volunteers with snacks, encourage them to dispose of the waste responsibly. Picking up trash only to dump more later negates the point of a community clean-up.
While most people are already aware of separating trash from recycling, it’s important to brief everyone regardless. This is because there’s always a chance that not everyone will know how to go about it.
Furthermore, you can assist the process by providing the volunteers with different colored bags to avoid confusion. At the same time, educate them on social distancing rules as you wouldn’t want your event to be a hotbed for the spread of COVID-19.
Get the Word Out Responsibly
Remember, you need like-minded individuals to be able to pull off the clean-up successfully. Make sure to steer clear of those who do not seem serious enough to go ahead with it. However, on the other hand, it’s also important to gather as many interested individuals as possible – the bigger the group, the greater the impact.
Post on social media, hand out flyers, partner with relevant organizations, and you’ll be halfway through the process of organizing a great clean-up.
While the point is to gather maximum volunteers to pick up trash, it’s also important to designate some people for other duties. For instance, you must have at least one volunteer at the meeting point to ensure a smooth influx of people at the venue. You must also designate at least one volunteer for distributing supplies and providing participants with necessary essentials such as sanitizers, water bottles (if required), sunscreen, etc.
In the end, organizing a community clean-up is a great way to instill a sense of responsibility among its residents. However, it also requires careful planning and execution to get the most out of it. The ecosystem relies on you as much as you rely on it, and learning to pick up after yourself is only one out of many ways to ensure that you’re able to preserve it for the longest possible time.
Eventually, it all comes down to adopting sustainable practices and taking something valuable from a community clean-up experience. While it is admirable if you’re able to convince many people to carry rubber gloves and trash bags around, remember that the underlying purpose is to ensure that your project has the greatest possible impact. Ultimately, the goal is to preserve the beauty of the planet we call home and let our children lead the best and the healthiest life possible.