Keeping Juneau clean for 100 years

In keeping with a tradition that now spans 100 years, Mayor Ken Koelsch on Monday proclaimed the month of April “Juneau Clean Sweep” and asked community members to keep litter off the streets and out of the wetlands.

Koelsch called for the “observance and personal participation of all (Juneau) residents” throughout the cleanup project at Monday night’s Assembly meeting, even handing out trash bags to those in attendance. Instead of asking whether people wanted a bag to participate, Koelsch asked, “Would you like one or two bags?”

The first community-wide cleaning effort marked in Assembly meeting notes dates back to April 21, 1916, when Mayor B. E. Stuart was in office, Koelsch said. In 1985, a nonprofit organization that focuses on keeping the community clean year-round was started — Litter Free, Inc. In the 31 years since the group’s beginning, volunteers have picked up and taken 1.875 million pounds of trash to Juneau’s landfill.

Three days this month — April 15, 23 and 30 — different organization will host cleanup projects around Juneau at locations where litter is most often found (see list below for locations).

Municipal Clerk Laurie Sica said those volunteering and using litter or recycling bags should be careful not leave them behind at the cleanup sites where dogs or bears could tear into them. They should be given to those running the sites or taken to their personal garbage cans.

The following is a list of dates and locations for this year’s citywide cleanup projects:

• 8 a.m.-12 p.m., April 15 at Marine Park: The Downtown Improvement Group will lead a cleanup project that will be followed by a hotdog and soda picnic in front of the Triangle Bar at 251 Front St.

• 8-11:30 a.m., April 23 at Sunny Point Mendenhall Wetlands: Discovery Southeast will have kids activities on hand for young volunteers. An after-party with a food truck and beer will take place at noon for those 21 years and older at Alaskan Brewing Co. at 5429 Shaune Drive.

• 8-10 a.m., April 30 at various locations: Volunteers can pick up litter and recycling bags at Foodland IGA, Douglas Fire Hall, Western Auto Marine, Lyle’s & Jensen’s Home Furnishing, Duck Creek Market, Auke Bay — UAS Student Bookstore and Lynn Canal Fire Station. A noon picnic at Duck Creek Market sponsored by Juneau Watershed Partnership will mark the end of the day’s cleanup projects.

An interactive map with cleanup locations and areas in the community that need the most attention can be found at http://www.juneauwatersheds.org/programs/cleanup.html. For more information, visit www.litterfree.org.

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