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Litter cleanup collects tons of trash

AskHRgreen.org and Keep Virginia Beautiful were back again in 2021 to host the Hampton Roads kickoff to the Great American Cleanup on March 26-27. Each year, Hampton Roads communities come together to launch the spring litter cleanup season into action with a two-day intensive effort to clean and beautify the region. This year’s cleanup events could not have come at a better time. After a lengthy season of social distancing limits on volunteer efforts and the emergence of personal protective equipment litter in our local landscape, a thorough cleanup of the region was needed.

Together, more than 1,300 volunteers showed up for the Hampton Roads Great American Cleanup — a record turnout in recent years! These volunteers bagged litter from beaches and marshes, rural roadsides and busy intersections. Their work paid off big time. More than 150 locations throughout the region were spruced up during the event, with more than 1,800 bags of litter collected for a total weight of 48,653-plus pounds. That’s more than 24 tons of litter removed from our Hampton Roads communities and local waterways.

In Suffolk alone, 115 volunteers donated 324 hours at 15 cleanup locations. They collected 151 bags of litter and found 15 tires.The biggest cleanup was on Turlington Road, where 25 people took part and collected 21 bags of trash.

Along with these fantastic results comes the opportunity to do even more. Many volunteers and local cleanup coordinators reported that despite all the hard work that has been done, there are more locations in need of attention in our communities. Luckily, it’s easy for people to get involved and continue to help tackle litter in Hampton Roads. Through the askHRgreen.org Team Up 2 Clean Up program, residents and local businesses are encouraged to organize their own cleanups at any time. Simply contact the coordinator in your community to get connected with local resources, which may include lendable litter kits you can borrow from local community centers or libraries. Volunteers can also sign up to participate in an existing cleanup event like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Clean the Bay Day, happening Monday, May 31 through Saturday, June 5.