SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Food containers, wrappers, mattresses and tires; hundreds of volunteers put on their gloves, grabbed a trash bag, and cleaned up their neighborhoods for the 8th annual city-wide cleanup.
Walter Kroll, president of the McKnight Neighborhood Council, spent his morning clearing debris dumped illegally underneath a bridge on Saint James Ave. “I’m here as a volunteer, as part of Keep Springfield Beautiful. We’re trying to clean up areas that have long since been a dumping ground, and people see that as an opportunity to continue dumping there,” he said.
Volunteers met bright and early at one of four designated clean up locations in the city. From there, they dispersed into groups and tackled areas infamous for illegal dumping and leftover litter. Some volunteers focused on city streets, while others cleared debris off of playgrounds, and by waterways.
Springfield resident Jacqueline Pleet picked up trash in Forest Park neighborhoods, where litter was the biggest problem. “The biggest issues, I think mostly are food containers, cups, and bottles, and bags, lottery tickets also from some of the local stores. So, that’s most of the trash we’re picking up,” she said.
Springfield resident Steve Posner makes a point to participate in the city-wide cleanup whenever he can. “I’ve done it several times with the neighbors, we live here, and we want to keep the community clean. We want the whole city to look good, so, we’re happy to pick up,” he said.
“Keep Springfield Beautiful,” is a nonprofit organization affiliated with “Keep America Beautiful.” Two-million volunteers participate in the Great American cleanup every year, an effort to clean and restore more than 20-thousand communities nationwide.
In Springfield, hundreds of volunteers spent five hours cleaning up all 17 of the city’s neighborhoods.