Now that Spring is officially here, it also means the return of the City’s annual clean up campaign called “Keep Vancouver Spectacular”. This initiative began in 1996 and was then a co-ordinated effort between the City of Vancouver, Tourism Vancouver and Oceans Blue Foundation. It has evolved with a variety of sponsors over the years. Generally, people get together individually or in groups to clean up their neighbourhood streets, lanes, parks and shorelines. The City of Vancouver supplies the tools which include:
• Garbage bags
• Gloves, cleanup tools (tongs)
• Free pickup of litter collected
As a past Block Captain, there is satisfaction in seeing everything looking green and clean in your neighbourhood. We are big supporters of this campaign. We can all grumble about the litter we see strewn here, there and everywhere, but you have the power to change that and the City gives you the tools to do it. From past experience, it is amazing how much garbage can be picked up with a small group of people. Added bonus, it is also pretty easy to organize. You simply go online fill out the registration form. After that, the City delivers you the requested items. Enlist a few volunteers and it could be a handful, or it can be a dozen or more, depends on size of the area you wish to tackle. Designate a location that everyone in your group returns the garbage to, the City usually provides signage for that purpose. The City will pick up the collected garbage from your designated spot. The time commitment is whatever you want to make it, but generally 1 to 2 hours is the average if doing a larger area, but it can be as little 45 minutes covering 1 or 2 city blocks. If neighbours need a little encouragement to participate, truth be told, I have enticed a few neighbours with fresh coffee and baked goodies. Outside of the clean up being great for the urban wildlife and visually more appealing, it is a great way to get to know your neighbours and build some pride within one’s community.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a Block Captain, the City of Vancouver provides a Block Captain Manual which is fairly straightforward and available to download online.
Also this year in conjunction with Keep Vancouver Spectacular, ElectroRecycle and Encorp, are offering you the opportunity to recycle your electronics, small appliances and power tools for free. Household battery drop-off will also be available at this event which takes place Saturday, May 7th. Drop off location is the Sunrise Square Parking Lot at 2500 Franklin Street near East Hastings Street and Nanaimo. The times for drop off are 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Did you know, in 2012, 16,400 volunteers in 180 groups came together to fill more than 6,000 bags with litter. Remember though if at any time you see items illegally dumped, you can contact the City at 311 or email them to request the item(s) be picked up. Will you help keep the City looking spectacular?