Sign up now for regional cleanup effort

Published 5:19 pm Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Are you ready to do a little spring cleaning? Keep Suffolk Beautiful has teamed up with askHRgreen.org and Keep Virginia Beautiful to be part of a regional cleanup effort. Plan now to join volunteers from across the region for this year’s Great American Cleanup, March 26-27.

Instead of gathering in large groups for organized community cleanups, residents will focus on cleaning up their own communities and local outdoor spaces in smaller numbers. Litter Kits are available and can be delivered and picked up after your cleanup.

During the pandemic, litter has become an increasingly difficult challenge in Hampton Roads. Fewer volunteer cleanups, more people consuming fast food from the convenience of their cars and not disposing of the debris properly, coupled with municipal staffs stretched thin, means more litter than usual. Add to this the increased use of disposable masks, gloves, and sanitizing wipes, which are all too often discarded on the ground, and you can see why the litter problem has grown.

“You can rally your friends, neighbors, or coworkers to host a #TeamUp2Cleanup event, or simply grab a trash bag and pick up litter while you take a walk around the block,” said Rebekah Eastep, an askHRgreen.org team leader.

An initiative of Keep America Beautiful, the Great American Cleanup is the nation’s largest community improvement program, designed to end littering, improve recycling and beautify America’s communities. Traditionally held in the spring, last year’s local events were moved to the fall and restructured to accommodate both the safety and distance of participants. This year will be similar. Groups should be limited to no more than 25 participants, and volunteers are asked to wear masks, maintain a distance of six feet apart, and wear gloves or use a grabber to handle litter. “Spending time outdoors is one of the safest, socially-distant activities one can do, and our region could use a good spring cleaning,” Eastep said. “Your efforts will benefit the greater good by creating beautiful, healthy spaces that we can all enjoy.”

With Suffolk’s award-winning National Night Out celebration happening this summer, these type of events also offer communities a great opportunity to renew relationships that have been put on hold due to the pandemic. Suffolk’s National Night Out is scheduled for Aug. 3.

To take part in the Great American Cleanup, you can register at www.askHRgreen.org/cleanup or contact Keep Suffolk beautiful at 514-7604, or email KSB@suffolkva.us.