Team up to clean up: Volunteers sought for litter pickup

Lilly Casolaro
Staff Writer

Billions of dollars are spent each year in the United States on litter cleanup.

In an effort to reduce the amount of litter in our area, the city of Troy is hosting its third annual city-wide cleanup campaign—Team Up to Clean Up—running March 1 through April 30, 2016.

The event is open to anyone and everyone who is willing to participate. As an extra incentive for assisting in the effort, registered volunteers are eligible to win a $100 Visa gift card, courtesy of Troy Bank and Trust.

Leigh Anne Windham, an employee of the city of Troy and an assistant with the marketing and public relations committee for the event, said no student organizations are currently signed up.

“We really want to get the student organizations participating,” she said.   

The campaign is affiliated with Mayor Jason Reeves’ initiative “Keep Troy Beautiful” and the nationwide Keep America Beautiful.

“Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s leading nonprofit that brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities,” the Keep America Beautiful website said. “With our national network of community-based affiliates, we work with millions of volunteers who take action in their communities to transform public spaces into beautiful places.”

The mission of Keep America Beautiful is to “inspire and educate people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment.”

Over 4 million volunteers participate in the “Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup” in their local communities across the country each year.

Melissa Sanders, city of Troy planning and zoning administrator and executive director of Keep Troy Beautiful, said empowering the next generation to maintain environmental cleanliness is essential.

“It is important that our events, such as the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, work to build the next generation of environmental stewards,” Sanders said. “Through these cleanup efforts, volunteers young and old will be empowered to take action in preserving our local environment.”

In 2015, the city of Troy enlisted 182 volunteers from 13 different organizations to assist with the cleanup campaign.

This included campus groups such as Chi Omega, Alpha Gamma Delta and the women’s basketball team, as well as local groups like the First National Bank, Troy Regional Medical Center and the Pointe.

Allison Wrape, a sophomore psychology major from Huntsville, participated in last year’s event, on behalf of the Chi Omega sorority.

Wrape and her friends rode around the city, gathering trash wherever they saw it.

“We collected about six bags of trash,” Wrape said.

Lauren Smith, an employee at the First National Bank of Brundidge-Troy, said that her bank chose to be a part of this event because it is proud of its city.

“We want to be involved in any efforts that make our community better,” Smith said. “Our group had a great afternoon enjoying the weather, enjoying each other and doing something small to make a difference.”

Sanders said that a clean and healthy environment contributes to the overall well-being of a community.

“Vibrant communities aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, they’re places with engaged citizens, more active local economies, higher property values, healthier environments and improved public safety,” Sanders said. “They’re better places to raise a family, start a business or go to school.”

According to Sanders, free trash bags and cleanup supplies will be provided for registered teams.

Wrape and her group were given grabbers and trash bags by the city for their cleanup efforts.

These supplies can be picked up at Troy City Hall located at 301 Charles W. Meeks Ave. during confirmed supply pickup times, provided after registration.

“I would definitely encourage everyone to help clean up Troy,” Wrape said. “When I participated in this cleanup, I felt like I was helping to make Troy beautiful again.”

Sanders offers applicable steps on how to reduce littering and ways that citizens can take action to prevent unnecessary trash.

“Start with these actions,” Sanders said. “Set an example for others by using trash and/or recycling receptacles and not littering.”

“If you see litter, pick it up. Invite others to participate in anti-litter programs such as the Team Up to Clean Up campaign.

For more information about the cleanup campaign, visit www.troyal.gov, email ktb@troyal.info or call Leigh Anne Windham at 334-674-2468 or Melissa Sanders at 334-670-6058.

Organizations can register at troyal.gov/tutcu.

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