BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Braving the freezing temperatures on Sunday, December 9, members of Val’s Valiants and the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission put on their reinforced gloves and led Cub Scouts and Scout members from Pack 368 to clean up litter along both sides of Locust Avenue, between Russo Place and Timber Drive.

The group of 10 consisted of five children, Sambhav Chaturvedi, Vibhav Chaturvedi, Valerie Diamond, Evan Harris, and Tyler Reed, as well as five adults, Tulika Chaturdevi, Kim Diamond, David Harris, Richard Leister, and Victoria Reed. Working together in teams of two and three, the group collectively gathered 36.3 pounds of litter - consisting of 29.7 pounds of recyclables and 6.6 pounds of trash – within just a 1-hour period.

“The small group who made it did quite a good job – especially . . . in light of the cold weather,” noted Victoria Reed.

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Some of the more unique items that the group picked up included two sets of ear muffs, a belt, a scarf, and a metal stand from a candidate’s election sign.  There was no shortage of beverage containers, cigarette butts, and thin film plastic bags, though.  Among other items, the group collected a total of 30 plastic bottles, 28 glass bottles, 50 metal (beer and soda) cans, 41 cigarette butts, and 13 thin film plastic bags.

The particular stretch that the group cleaned is one notorious for being a “litter magnet.” Clean-ups were conducted on the same exact area both in the spring and in the fall. Yet, just a few weeks following the most recent clean-up, litter abounded – particularly in the wooded area adjacent to the street.

The clean-up effort was part of the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s International Coastal Cleanup effort, which runs from September 15 – December 31, 2018.  Through their efforts, those participating in Sunday’s clean-up joined thousands of volunteers globally in their efforts to rid litter from streams, lakes, rivers, bays, and beaches.

“It’s great that people of all ages are taking an active interest in keeping our town clean, and are actually coming out to do something about it” said Valerie Diamond, leader of Val’s Valiants and  junior at Governor Livingston High School. “Pack 368 and Val’s Valiants have already agreed to work together this spring so that more of these clean-ups happen. It just shows that no matter how old you are, you can make a difference.”