Trash cleanup yield down 75 percent
Trash collected during “Community Pride Week” was about one-quarter the volume collected during the community cleanup last year, according to officials with Community Waste Solutions.
Utility office manager Sally Garton said 163 bags were turned in during the event, compared to 635 bags last year.
Garton said she suspected a decision this year to eliminate a $3 per bag reward to members of nonprofits cleaning up town may have hurt participation. This year’s two-week event also was a week shorter than last year’s. “I heard several people say they weren’t going to participate because nonprofits weren’t getting money out of it.”
Officials with the Haines Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the cleanup, expressed dismay. “It’s really disappointing to think people need a monetary incentive to pick up trash in their community,” said president Barbara Mulford, who picked up garbage near the harbor with young runners in the Girls on the Run program. “It is what it is. Maybe we should instead work to instill in our community an ethic to not litter throughout the year.”
Mulford said she saw discouraging amounts of trash along Front Street and underneath the Tlingit Park gazebo.
Garton said many participants picked up in the Mud Bay and Small Tracts roads neighborhoods and fewer were downtown, but from her trips around town, the core doesn’t look too bad, possibly owing to the success of past years’ cleanups, including efforts along rivers and creeks by Takshanuk Watershed Council.
A recent Haines Borough ordinance tightening up trash storage regulations to prevent bears from getting into residential garbage also may have helped, she said.
Garton heard only of two or three residents picking up trash along Haines Highway, she said. “That area may need more attention.”
Rose Hess of Haines won the honor of collecting the most trash. Hess turned in 550 pounds of refuse, Garton said.