During her work with Residents For a More Beautiful Port Washington, Executive Director Mindy Germain noticed that people were more likely to litter in certain areas.
“One thing we’ve learned is that litter begets litter,” Germain said. “If you’re in an area that has lots of litter on the ground, you’re more likely to drop your candy wrapper on the ground.”
The reverse is also true, she said: people are less likely to litter in a place that is clean. So Germain and other members of the community have been holding events, one Monday each month from June to September, to help clean up Port Washington.
Cleanup efforts focused on Main Street between Blumenfeld Family Park and Port Washington Boulevard. Over 30 people attended Monday’s cleanup, which Germain said was in line with turnout for the other cleanups this summer.
Working along with Germain were Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso, the members of Daisy Troop 412 and several other residents, young and old. Free pizza was provided to the volunteers by Frank’s Pizza.
“It was fabulous,” Germain said. “We had families, teachers, members of the community.”
Residents For a More Beautiful Port Washington, founded in 1968, has held local cleanups since its inception. The larger efforts, which include the summer cleanups and the annual Clean Green Main Street event in April, began in 2008.
Along with the cleanup efforts is an emphasis on education. Part of that is the “Give a Litter Bit” pledge, which calls on residents to reduce litter, use reusable bags and bottles, tie garbage tight, recycle, pick up litter and invite others to pledge.
“Our biggest goal is education, because if we all work together and draw attention to it, we can prevent it,” Germain said.
Along with education, the Give a Litter Bit program also uses data to target areas that struggle with litter.
“I post the litter we pick up [online] so everyone can see, I post the data,” Germain said. “We circle back with merchants when we see a lot of litter in a certain area.”
Although the summer cleanup sessions have ended, Germain said beautification efforts will continue into autumn. In addition to cleaning up litter, bulbs will be planted so that flowers will bloom in the spring. More information about future cleanup efforts can be found at pwresidents.org.