TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Groups of volunteers collected half an elephant’s weight in trash last month during “The Big Cleanup,” the largest community-wide cleanup in Clearwater’s history, according to the city.
Between Oct. 11 and 16, nearly 1,300 volunteers and 70 businesses participated in the effort, collecting approximately 6,588 pounds of litter through a series of cleanups at parks, schools, recreation centers, beaches and more across Clearwater—enough trash to cover an 126 roadways and 11 shorelines, the city said.
Volunteers were asked to document their pickups and report their litter totals and findings. Among the more popular findings were cigarette butts and plastic bottles, which take a while to decompose and can spread chemicals that harm wildlife in the area. Among the more “peculiar” items were monopoly money, rugs, toothbrushes and car parts, a city representative said.
“It was a bittersweet feeling to see the total collected. On the one hand, it’s upsetting to know the amount of litter existed in our community in the first place,” said Mayor Frank Hibbard. “However, we’re so grateful for the volunteers that found and picked up all those items and the example they set for the community.”
“It’s important to remember that the cleanup efforts do not stop here,” said Sustainability Coordinator Sheridan Boyle. “We want to encourage people to dispose of trash, avoid using single-use plastics, volunteer for other cleanup events throughout the year and continue recycling properly.”
Want to be more involved in the community? Learn more by visiting myclearwater.info/Volunteer