The Shelton Anti-Litter Committee is preparing for its 13th annual Clean Sweep and is looking for some help.

The ad hoc committee formed by the Board of Aldermen has been fighting a battle against fast food wrappers, liquor bottles and trash for more than a decade. Now the group needs more volunteers if it is to stay on top of keeping Shelton’s public spaces clean.

Especially because Earth Day — April 22 — is approaching along with 13th annual Clean Sweep set for that week.

“The city has a big litter problem,” said Teresa Gallagher, the city’s conservation agent and Anti-Litter Committee member.

Gallagher said the committee was created in 2007 to tackle what was then a growing litter problem. The members created two programs — Adopt-A-Street and Clean Sweep — which still remain popular.

But with more than 200 miles of city streets and some 2,000 acres of open space, the litter collection can seem daunting to the stalwarts who continue to try to keep Shelton clean, she said.

Gallagher said more volunteers would allow for more outreach to business groups and the general public about the trash problem on city property, which in turn could help lead to more people being proactive about picking up debris.

“People are surprised to learn that the city does not pick up litter,” said Gallagher. “When people see litter, they say ‘it is not my job, it is the city’s job.’ That is not true. If you want your neighborhood to look nice, people need to be proactive and pick up.”

Gallagher said the city relies on residents to keep their neighborhood clean.

The committee’s website spells out some of the details: remove litter from road frontage and adjacent vacant land, secure trash in both a plastic liner and a can to prevent flyaways during trash pickup, “and consider picking up your street from time to time.”

The 13th annual Clean Sweep will be held the entire week of Earth Day, April 22. Neighborhood groups, Scouts and business teams spend the week coming together, said Gallagher, to remove litter from public spaces and waterways.

Adopt-A-Street currently has 25 individuals and businesses which clean a specific street. Gallagher said more committee volunteers could help increase outreach to other businesses about the importance of cleaning specific public roadways.

The Shelton Anti-Litter Committee meets at 7 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of the month in City Hall and hosts a public Google Bulletin Board where committee members may post information.

Those interested in volunteering can contact the committee at sheltoncleansweep@gmail.com or contact Gallagher at 203-924-1555, Ext.1315, or conservation@cityofshelton.org.

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