Residents collected more than four tons of garbage during the annual community cleanup this month.
The total included 159 bags of trash turned in to Community Waste Solutions, plus 4.5 tons of non-bagged items, said Jamie Knudsen, office manager for the Haines Chamber of Commerce.
“I was really pleased with how the community and all the different organizations came together, and I think that we had a very effective cleanup this year,” said Brenda Jones, a chamber board member who helped organize the event.
She said garbage seems to pop up around town each spring. “In the fall time, it doesn’t seem that bad, but when the snow melts, it’s there.”
The community cleanup launched May 5 with a Cinco de Mayo celebration dubbed “Cleano de Mayo.” “We’re going to look at trying to do (Cleano de Mayo) again next year,” Knudsen said. “It was cold and windy, but I think it was a good kickoff for all the different activities.”
The second annual Chilkat River cleanup and the Haines Animal Rescue Kennel’s first Pooper Trooper cleanup also were on May 5. The river cleanup, sponsored by the Chilkoot Indian Association and coordinated by the Takshanuk Watershed Council, hauled in 3.75 tons, Knudsen said.
Separate from the chamber community cleanup, residents also were delivering scrap metal and junk cars to the Lutak sawmill site.
“Having lived in Haines for so long, I’m amazed at the whole cleanup process that went around the whole town this year, with the cars and scrap metal that they did out there, the bagged garbage, and the Watershed cleanup on the river,” Knudsen said. “I think it looks amazing.”
The 2011 cleanup tallied 249 bags. Nonprofit organizations earn $3 per filled bag, and the top individuals receive dump passes.
Brenda Jones of the chamber board said she targeted downtown for the cleanup, because it’s “that area that we the residents see, as well as the visitors.”
“I hope we can raise a consciousness,” she said. “There’s an awful lot of soda cans and beer cans and bottles that seem to be picked up, as well as, last year, roofing material and other stuff, so it’s not just a matter of littering.”