Polk Big Sweep litter pickup Saturday

Published 2:38 pm Friday, October 3, 2008

&dquo;Volunteers have the power to change our environment,&dquo; said Judy Bolin, N.C. Big Sweep president. &dquo;The time to act is now. Talk to your friends and family about the upcoming cleanup and ask them to help out. In just a few hours volunteering, we can make a really big difference.&dquo;

These cleanups are important, organizers say, because litter can last hundreds of years in the environment. Before it decomposes, litter can hurt an area&39;s economy. For example, businesses can refuse to locate to an area if it is too trashy, and&bsp; tourists won&squo;t linger in trashy areas, they won&squo;t spend money, and they won&squo;t return with their friends.

Litter is a human health hazard, when it contaminates the water supply as it decomposes. It&squo;s also deadly to wildlife that eat or become entangled in litter, and once entangled, wildlife often attract other wildlife to the same hazard.

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Last year, more than 18,000 Big Sweep volunteers cleaned almost 1,500 miles and retrieved nearly 730,000 pounds of debris in North Carolina. Polk County&squo;s volunteer participation increased greatly in 2007 as more than 70 volunteers helped clean four miles of waterways and retrieve over 820 pounds of debris. Since its inception in 1987, N.C. Big Sweep volunteers have retrieved more than 8.8 million pounds of debris.

&dquo;Everyone knows that there is still a lot of litter in our environment,&dquo; Bolin said. &dquo;Let&squo;s all get out there and really transform North Carolina back to the beautiful, pristine state it used to be!&dquo;

To get involved locally, volunteers can contact Polk County Coordinator Mark Byington at 828-859-6874 or go to the Big Sweep website at www.ncbigsweep.org to find a location near you.

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