Well, this is going to be a slightly different kind of post than the kind I usually do. This fits as it was a little bit different than the kind of story I usually cover. This was the first time that I really went out and walked a story, getting to see all the elements, and interact with the events and find out everything involved. It was a lot of fun, and I am hoping to do so again next year, along with do more stories like this when they come up. The format of this will be a kind of photo slideshow, with text underneath talking about what these pictures are for, and why I have them there. All pictures can be expanded by clicking on them. I hope you enjoy.
As you no doubt can infer from the title, this was the 12th time that this event has been held at UAA. It is in celebration of Earth Day. The effort is also to help make the campus look nice for the heart run that is going to take place this Saturday. A lot of groups have supported this effort, and a lot of people came out to help. We’ll get to that in just a picture.
There were 143 people who particpated in this event, according to the man I spoke to who was leading the project, Erik Ohm. He was gracious enough to get me all the details after the event, so I could get this out in the most accurate way possible, as is correct of a diligent reporter. They gathered at around 9:00 in the morning and were given gloves, a trash bag, and a pair of “tongs.” The tools of the warriors headed out to do battle with what was a battle with a tiny entity that lurked all over campus like ants.
Those involved in this cleanup spread to all corners of campus, including the satellite areas like Housing, Aviation and the University Center. This was an effort to get the whole campus to look better and be a less littered place. But as said above, there was a battle against a tiny entity that was the bane of a lot of the people involved in this’ existence.
Cigarette butts. Yes, this was the most common thing. Like little ants, they were everywhere, and there was a clear sense of annoyance from those who were using their tongs to try and clean up this almost insurmountable mess of butts. Not hard to see why. With so many, having to take the time to pick them up individually, that would get on anybody’s nerves. As a person who has never condemned or condoned smokers, it at least draws the issue that if a person is going to smoke, could they at least show the courtesy to put their buts in the recepticals around campus for just that, if not putting them out on the cold steeel garbage cans and then throwing them away? Courtesy was a little lacking. But the people out cleaning did their best to deal with this barrage of butts (the immature part of me will address that yes, that does sound dirty).
Of course, there were some pieces of litter that were more dangerous, like this lovely mosaic of blue glass that was found by the Wendy Williamson auditorium. It makes for a charming picture, but a sad reminder that there are some people who aren’t even courteous enough to not be dangerous with other people’s feet.
Though not everything was a bust. There were prizes for whoever found the strangest and most valuable things on their wanderings. I was the one who eyed this lovely prize, hanging on a tree. Somebody lost a good sweatshirt. Too bad that we are too tall for it. It is pretty nice.
At the end of the cleanup, around 11:30, the groups came in. There was a kickin’ barbeque that was held, and the people involved ate their fill (we didn’t get any pictures of it. Sorry). The total count of trash that was collected was 143 bags, along with a myriad of other odds and ends, such as car parts, a dog-house, and a children’s pool that was pretty destroyed. There was 2,940 pounds of trash taken to the dump, while there was a large number of recycleables that were seperated out. One of the people who participated in the event remarked that the amount of trash was low. Looking at the final count, he was right. According to Ohm, there is roughly 150 to 250 bags of trash gathered. The onlooker theorized that the reason for the low count was the large amount of snow still on campus.
Anchorage got a record high this year in snow, and it will be a while before it is all gone. The man also remarked that if there was a lot more left, there would either have to be another of these events to have to take place, or facilities would have to take care of it during the summer. It’s a bummer that so many people can’t just throw away their trash and cigarette butts, but there were 143 people who came out and helped to make campus look better.
Hopefully, with posts like this, and with more support, that number can grow, and awareness can grow with it. That is the best thing that can happen.