During the week of April 15-22, South Plainfield citizens came together to shake off winter and welcome spring. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the New Jersey Clean Communities Act. South Plainfield has received a grant every year to fund the many aspects of the Borough’s litter prevention programs. Volunteer Litter Cleanup Week is a signature event in South Plainfield’s Clean Communities Calendar.
This year, more than 170 volunteers showed up on Saturday, April 15 to remove accumulated litter and trash from the Borough’s roadsides, parks, open spaces and municipal facilities. Scout troops, families, students, non-profit organizations; businesses, politicians, community service workers – all sectors of the Borough were represented. They filled 265 orange trash bags with litter and recyclables. They cleaned 8 miles of roadside and 90 acres of parks and woods at 37 different locations. As of this writing, reports had not come in yet from groups that worked later in the week.
The amount of litter around town seemed unusually bad this year. The turnout was not quite as strong as last year, when a gorgeous spring day drew a record number of volunteers, but the people who came to work last week got the job done. The piles of orange bags around town bore witness to the dedication of the volunteers as well as to the thoughtlessness of fellow citizens who leave litter for others to clean up. The Borough’s Road Department made quick work of collecting the trash.
The post-cleanup Pickup Picnic was set up in borough hall. The South Plainfield Green Team’s table in the lobby had information about keeping litter out of the storm drains, and car emissions out of the air. An environmental quiz carnival wheel was an added attraction in the Court Room. Cleanup volunteers had a chance to spin the wheel and answer the question that came up under their number. Those who answered correctly received an environmentally friendly prize such as a recycled-content notebook or wrist band. The wheel was staffed by Mayor Anesh and educator Dave Street, who took turns sharing environmental insights and humor.
Councilmembers, members of the Environmental Commission and of the Clean Communities Advisory Board served pizza, sandwiches and soda to the hungry workers. The McCriskin-Gustafson Funeral Home donated the pizza from Bruno’s Pizza Factory again this year. Charlie and Debbie Kurland of HomeTown Heros provided two large plates of sandwiches. There was more than enough food for all. A free raffle of potted tree seedlings entertained the volunteers.
Groups that participated in Cleanup Week included: Adopt-A-Spotters South Plainfield Business Association, the Roseo Family, South Plainfield Lions Club, Stillman Photography Services, and the Bourbeau Family. Scouts included Girl Scout Troops 65042, 65136, 65199, and 65167 and Boy Scout Troops 124, 207 and 309. Non-profits and other organizations included the Middlesex County Labor Assistance Program, the South Plainfield Democratic Organization, the South Plainfield Republican Organization, the South Plainfield Environmental Commission, the NJ Buddha Cultural Center, the High School National Honor Society, and the Nu Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Harris Realty and Servpro joined Stillman Photography Services as participating members of the business community. Then there were the thirty-five or so unaffiliated residents who came out during a spring week to help keep their community a great place to live.