Enhancing Community Engagement Through Neighborhood Cleanup: Strengthening Bonds and Promoting Environmental Wellness
In the pursuit of safeguarding our precious coastlines and oceans, our responsibility starts right at our doorstep. Join us in the proactive fight against plastic pollution and the enhancement of our local surroundings. Through concerted efforts, we can foster a cleaner environment by tidying up streets, parks, rivers, and other nearby areas, thus contributing to the welfare of our community as a whole. Here in the state of California, where we take pride in our natural beauty, this endeavor holds particular significance.
It’s a well-known fact that approximately 80% of the litter found on our shores originates from sources inland. This litter can originate from improperly sealed trash bins, thoughtless littering, and various other factors. The litter can then be carried downstream through stormwater channels, rivers, and streams, eventually reaching our coastlines. Especially during winter storms, this debris is swept out to sea, exacerbating the problem of marine debris. By actively engaging in local cleanup initiatives, whether in urban or more distant areas, we are effectively intercepting litter at its source, preventing it from further contaminating our coastal areas and oceans.
By becoming a community researcher, you play an integral role in this effort. Utilize the Cleanswell data collection application, accessible for free on both iOS and Android platforms, to document the types and quantities of litter you encounter during cleanups. This valuable information serves as a foundation for crafting regulations aimed at mitigating plastic pollution. Notably, the data collected has played a pivotal role in driving positive changes, such as California’s plastic bag ban and the prohibition of Styrofoam food packaging across 80 cities. These efforts, backed by accurate data, also contribute to the implementation of measures to keep litter out of stormwater systems, thereby preventing its entry into our oceans.
To embark on this journey with Cleanswell, follow these simple steps:
- Download the application on iOS or Android.
- Create an account (requires internet connectivity).
- Initiate your cleanup by selecting «Begin cleanup.» Provide details such as the date, number of participants, group name, and cleanup type (land or water). For group name, use «CCC Nearby,» and append your custom identifier if desired (e.g., CCC Neighborhood – Troop 260). Choose «land» unless you’re on a watercraft.
- Engage in your cleanup and use the application to track and log each item of litter encountered. Icons can be tapped to increment the litter count. Designate one person in group cleanups for data collection. Mistakes can be rectified by utilizing the «Remove Item» feature.
- Upon completing the cleanup, select «Done gathering.»
- Confirm cleanup details and submit your data.
- Optionally, share your cleanup results online via the application.
If you prefer a paper-based approach, you can still contribute:
- Download a paper data card in English or Spanish.
- Complete the card detailing your cleanup.
- Tally the collected litter on the card.
- Mail the completed card to the indicated address.
In order to ensure your safety, especially during the ongoing pandemic, adhere to the latest guidelines from health authorities. Additionally, follow the recommendations provided by the Waterfront Commission:
- Refrain from participating in cleanups if unwell.
- Assemble your cleanup gear, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gloves, facial coverings, and sun protection.
- Utilize the Clean Swell app to track collected items and participants. If unavailable, use an information card.
- Check local air quality and refrain from cleanup if conditions are poor.
- Maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from others, even while wearing masks.
- Always wear gloves and dispose of them properly after cleanup.
- Avoid touching your face and handling sharp objects.
- Exercise caution around wildlife and avoid disturbing natural elements.
- Adhere to park rules and guidelines in public spaces.
- If cleaning near water bodies, be cautious of tide levels and water conditions.
- Dispose of collected litter in appropriate waste and recycling bins.
- Properly dispose of gloves, ensuring they are turned inside out before discarding.
- Thoroughly clean up and use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
By participating in these cleanup activities, you acknowledge that neither the State of California nor the California Waterfront Commission bears responsibility for any injury, harm, or damages that may arise from your involvement. Your commitment to these cleanups is instrumental in promoting a healthier environment for our communities, our coastline, and our oceans.