WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Community members are gathering together to clean up Utah as restrictions lift and many begin to jump back into their day-to-day lives pre-pandemic.
According to International WeLoveU Foundation, around 50 volunteers have partnered with West Valley City to hold a cleanup on Redwood Road, just off the 201 freeway exit.
“WeLoveU is carrying out cleanups in June and July across the entire world to restore various ecosystems that have been neglected and damaged due to COVID-19. WeLoveU is making efforts to revive and brighten their communities coming out of the pandemic through the cleanup,” they share.
Officials say, the initiative is in honor of the United Nations declaration of the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
“We’re doing this united effort to clean up waste and debris accumulated during the pandemic. While air pollution went down during COVID-19, household waste increased, and there is a lot more litter and pollution on land and in public spaces,” expresses Kathryn Horne, a volunteer of the WeLoveU Foundation. “We’re hopeful that through these cleanups, we can enhance the livelihood of our communities and that our neighbors and peers can feel encouraged to join us in the movement to restore our ecosystems across America to combat climate change.”
According to the group, Keep America Beautiful reported 24 billion pieces of litter on the side of highways and 26 billion pieces of litter along waterways in 2020.”
Since the pandemic, various factors have been added to the rise in pollution and litter during the pandemic such as an increase in single-use plastics and PPE.
“It’s amazing the difference this organization has made in this area. Makes a better experience for those passing by here and walking along the sidewalk. With the pandemic last year, we had few volunteer groups, and it makes a difference” shares Darin Nerdin, Forestry Supervisor from West Valley City.
According to event organizers, “WeLoveU’s Clean WORLD Movement is an environmental initiative the foundation has been carrying out since 2009, where volunteers clean up polluted cities, parks, mountains, rivers and seas, to promote a clean world for the present and future generations.”