National effort helps remove tons of garbage
By Kyle LoJacono
Each year millions of volunteers across the United States spend one Saturday in the spring picking up trash in their communities as part of the Great American Cleanup.
In Pasco County the event was April 17 and is the signature event of Keep America Beautiful (KAB).
“The cleanup started in Pasco County in 1992 and the first location was in Land O’ Lakes,” said Jennifer Seney, president KAB’s Pasco chapter. “Some of the site captains have been doing it for years, but we still get people calling who are interested in starting new
Seney, who is also Pasco’s recycling coordinator, said the event always happens the third Saturday in April in the county.
This year there were 17 locations for the cleanup. Of those, three were in Wesley Chapel and one was in Land O’ Lakes.
The captain of the Land O’ Lakes cleanup is Amy Gallogly, who is also Club Connerton’s activities director and took over the site two years ago. The group picked up trash along Kent Grove Drive off SR 52.
“The road really needs it,” Gallogly said. “We picked the road also because the traffic isn’t so bad for the safety of our kid volunteers.”
Gallogly said girl and boy scout troops in Land O’ Lakes always come out to help with the cleanup. There were 30 volunteers at last year’s Land O’ Lakes cleanup and Gallogly estimated 50 helped this year.
“We found all sorts of things out there,” Gallogly said. “What we find the most of is cigarette butts, but there are lots of soda cans, bottles and paper too.”
Another Pasco site that has found less common trash is coordinated by Michelle Barbour of Wesley Chapel. Barbour started the first cleanups in Wesley Chapel four or five years ago near the Sun Trust Bank at the corner of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and SR 54, but the event moved to Wesley Chapel Park two years ago.
“We find all kinds of crazy things during the cleanup,” Barbour said. “One year we found a whole dashboard of a car on either Old Pasco Road or Boyette (Road). We’ve also found TVs, washers and dryers and other things that seem so odd because of how big they are. Things like that can do a lot of harm to the environment and to the animals that live out there.”
Barbour, who works for ReMax Advantage Realty, said the cleanup usually removes about two tons of trash each year. ReMax gives support to Barbour’s cleanup efforts by promoting it in the area each year and other employees also participate in picking up the trash.
“We always try to do better than the year before,” Barbour said. “We do a cleanup in the fall for the Coastal Cleanup and we usually have more trash for that event, but it is still outrageous the amount we pick up in the spring too.
“It is critical that we keep our community clean,” Barbour continued. “If we don’t keep it clean it only hurts ourselves and the wildlife in Pasco County.”
The event is about making the community a cleaner place than the day before, but Gallogly sees another long-term goal of the cleanup too.
“It’s awesome for kids to get involved at a young age,” Gallogly said. “The movement to go green and protect the environment has put more of a focus on things like cleanups, but it is still important to teach children to look after the planet.”
For more information on the Great American Cleanup or KAB, visit www.kab.org. To learn about Pasco specific KAB events, visit www.keeppascobeautiful.org.
“We’ve been at this for a long time,” Seney said of the cleanups. “If we didn’t do the different events Pasco County would be a much nastier place to live.”
Central and East Pasco cleanup locations
- Land O’ Lakes on Kent Grove Road
- Wesley Chapel at Wesley Chapel Park
- Wesley Chapel on Old Pasco Road
- Wesley Chapel on Quail Hollow Boulevard
To form a site for next years Great American Cleanup, call Seney at (813) 996-7341, (352) 521-4274 or (727) 847-8041.
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