WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Around 100 volunteers were in Westfield Saturday morning to commemorate Earth Day by cleaning up the city. What started as a small group, has surged over the years, with volunteers covering 12 different cleanup sites throughout the city.
Karen Leigh of the Westfield Conservation Commission, told 22News, “The first year, just a couple of us had gotten together on a weekend and decided to go out. Five years later, we’re up to around 100 or so people, and breakfast and lunch. It’s getting bigger and brighter every year.”
Mayor Brian Sullivan and the Westfield Earth Day Committee sponsored the city-wide cleanup. Volunteers were served breakfast at the masonic lodge before heading out for more than four hours of cleanup. Last year, volunteers collected more than 250 bags of trash, as well as large items like mattresses and televisions.
Volunteer Kimberly Barton has participated in the cleanup for several years. Barton told 22News she’s starting to fill fewer and fewer bags every year, saying, “Five to twelve, depending on how dirty everything is. Some years it’s been getting a little less, I think people are being more conscious.”
One local Girl Scout troop comes to Westfield’s Earth Day cleanup every year. They said they’re hoping to save the earth one scrap of trash at a time. Josephine Barton, a member of the troop, told 22News, “Adults or kids or anyone, if they come to Earth Day and volunteer around the area, then they can become more mindful and feel more generous about helping the earth.”
Organizers said the police department, the Department of Public Works, and calls from community members, all help to identify the areas most in need of cleanup each Earth Day.