Residents Urged To Take Part In Hillsborough River & Coastal Cleanup

By Tamas Mondovics

Continuing under its theme of “Live it, Love it, Preserve It,” Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful has combined two of its biggest annual events into one day of service, environmental education, friendly competition and family fun.

To be successful, event organizers are urging volunteers to return and take part in the 25th annual cleanup scheduled for Saturday, October 20, at 50 sites throughout the Tampa Bay area.

“This is one of our biggest events of the year and we are relying on our volunteer support,” said Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful spokesperson Pat DePlasco. “We love our volunteers as they are the backbone of our organization. It is only with their help that we can enjoy the environmental health of our community.”

Again this year, KTBB is expecting thousands to come out and help with the cleanup effort, which according to program organizers will likely reach 5,000 due to the combination of the organization’s annual Hillsborough River & Waterways Cleanup and International Coastal Cleanup events.

The number of volunteers make up a much bigger sum as they join the close to 2.5 million others in over 15,000 communities across the country.

Each year during cleanup, data is collected including the number and type of littered items, the overall tonnage removed and the amount of recyclable material diverted from each site.

DePlasco said that the information is used to determine future needs and projects in the area and create an awareness of these needs within the community.

“Data is shared with the International Coastal Cleanup, Keep America Beautiful, as well as local officials to help provide a local and global perspective,” she said.

The campaign’s activities includes litter removal, recycling, park cleanup, painting and renewal programs, clothing collections, graffiti removal, beautification and refurbishing projects, and river, lake and seashore cleanups.

Following the cleanup, volunteers can enjoy Rollin’ on the River Rally, which will take place at Lowry Park featuring live music, free food and environmental education booths. Visit www.KeepTampaBayBeautiful.org.