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Westport Joins Hands to Wipe Out Litter

WESTPORT, Conn. – Hundreds of Westport residents will hit the streets and get their hands dirty this Saturday in an effort to make the town cleaner during the annual Green-up Westport Day.

During the event, which coincides with Earth Day this year, volunteers from many Westport civic organizations will pick up litter in various public spaces in town, said Stuart McCarthy, director of the Parks and Recreation Department. The cleanup is organized by the Westport Beautification Committee and the Parks and Recreation Department.

“It’s one of my favorite days,” McCarthy said of the cleanup. “During the winter, all sorts of stuff piles up along the side of the roads and gets blown against fences. But this is a case where many hands make light work — it really does help us a lot with the spring cleaning.”

Due to budgetary constraints, McCarthy said “litter policing” does not happen anymore. “The idea that I have people wandering around town with sticks, picking up litter — that doesn’t exist,” he said.

For the event, participating organizations “adopt” a public area to clean. These areas include athletic fields, beaches, parks, parking areas and highway exit/entrance ramps. About 60 organizations, including Boy Scouts, athletic associations, the Rotary Clubs and more, have been asked to participate, McCarthy said.

Many groups participate every year in the event,which dates back at least 25 years, he added. For example, the Westport Weston Y’s Men annually pick up litter in the Baldwin parking lot downtown and members of the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club volunteer to clean up Exit 17 off Interstate 95.

“It’s amazing how many trash bags they fill,” McCarthy said. “What the Y’s Men do in the Baldwin lot in about 45 minutes would be the equivalent of me sending one guy out there for half a week, and I don’t have the budget for that.”

Although the event is a success in that many organizations participate, Angela Trucks, co-chairwoman of the Beautification Committee, said she and other organizers would like to see more people, not affiliated with an organization, take part.

“We’ll be happy to provide free trash bags to people who want to clean up litter along their streets, or help clean a community space,” said Trucks. “Two problem areas we’d love to have cleaned up are the [Merritt Parkway] Exits 41 and 42 park-and-rides.”

Residents interested in participating should call the Parks and Recreation Department at 203-341-5091 before Saturday. Residents can also meet members of the Beautification Committee on Jesup Green beginning at 9 a.m. for free trash bags.

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