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Greenwood shone for Earth Day, thanks to many hours of work done by many volunteers.
Saturday was the final day of a monthlong campaign to improve the city by removing trash and litter. It was the last weekend that will count toward the Team Up to Clean Up effort, according to Amber Nappier, the city’s litter prevention coordinator.
About 15 groups gathered Thursday through Saturday to pick up litter throughout the city, she said.
Numbers for the cleanups for all of April haven’t come in, she said Saturday. The final cleanup might have involved at least 100 volunteers. In total, the number of volunteers for the three-day effort might exceed the number who worked on the Lake Greenwood cleanup in March.
One group of five picked up nearly 1,000 pounds of litter around the Cambridge Avenue Extension area, she said.
“I’m pleasantly surprised with the cleanups. Every municipality did cleanups this month, which is wonderful,” Nappier said.
Participating teams represented Leadership Greenwood, the Mayor’s Youth Council, individual homeowners, churches, businesses and schools, Greenwood County Democrats and Kiwanis Club members, she said. Several youths finished early to prepare for a prom scheduled for the evening.
A number of volunteers converged at the Uptown Market to collect hand-held grabbers and safety vests. Nappier cautioned people to be wary of unsafe litter such as broken glass and anything that looked dangerous. She also distributed native tree seedlings. Then teams spread out across the city.
At least one of the teams got a video of volunteers using a Shop-Vac to pick up litter, she said.
Mayor Brandon Smith, who lined up supplies, said he hoped Greenwood will be as clean as it’s ever been. The trick is like weight loss: keeping it that way.
Keeping it that way was the goal for Ernestine Haley, Loretta Williams and Belva Wardlaw, who picked up litter on Lindsey and Carolina avenues. Haley, who lives on Lindsey Avenue, picks up litter on her own. Often police officers will stop to say to her: “You’re doing a good job.”
“I’m a cleaning person,” she said as she put one piece of litter after another into her bag. “Some people don’t care about nothing.”
They paced the length of Lindsey Avenue, picking up along the walk/bike path and next to the road. Mowers tend to cut up litter and blow pieces in all directions, they noted. Most of the waste was papers, cans and bottles, although one piece looked like a discarded onesie for a baby.
In time, they stopped toting increasingly heavy bags in favor of dragging them before tying them off for pickup.
“We want to show we care about where we live,” said Wardlaw, who often attends council meetings. “Growth is coming to the area. We want to be part of the discussion.”