DPW to supply collection bags, volunteers supply manpower
📷 Helen Boyle photos for The Citizen Chronicle
STURBRIDGE — With so many people home due to COVID-19 self-quarantining, the Department of Public Works is hoping to tap into that manpower to help clean the town.
DPW Director Butch Jackson has issued an open invitation to residents and businesses to take part in “Corona Virus Cleanup 2020,” an open-ended community service project during this “unprecedented time in our lives.”
While maintaining social distancing precautions, Jackson hopes locals will take advantage of their downtime and the weather to help combat litter and beautify their town.
“People are stressed by the virus, all the restrictions and we really need some relief. We need to get out and enjoy the milder weather as much as possible while keeping our distance from each other until this situation passes. As we get out we can’t help notice the tremendous amount of trash, bottles, cans and nips that have been carelessly discarded in our neighborhoods over the winter,” said Jackson. “It would make an extreme impact if everyone, while out enjoying the sunshine would pick up just one small bagful of debris. This is a perfect time as many people are home from work and school. The traffic should be much less than usual. Also the leaves have not yet returned effectively hiding all the debris.”
To help people participate in the cleanup effort, Jackson has requested locals visit the Sturbridge Fire Department’s Facebook page to leave a comment with their address and how many collection bags they would like to receive. Jackson said the yellow Massachusetts Department of Transportation bags “are not too big and have two handles and a tie attached to each bag.” DPW employees will wrap the requested bags into small rolls and leave them at the end of driveways to avoid contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On your next walk you can pick up whatever you see and when the bag is full, simply tie it off and leave it right where you finished,” explained Jackson. “You can request bags repeatedly as needed but please don’t order more that you’ll use. Then comment the location of the bag and the DPW will pick it up.”
While locals are encouraged to help with this community cleanup effort, Jackson stressed that hazardous materials such as needles should not be handled by volunteers. Instead, he affirmed, volunteers should report the location of the hazardous materials to the DPW.
Additionally, Jackson urged participants to wear bright clothing and gloves if possible. Volunteers are also encouraged to inform DPW about which streets they have cleaned up in order to facilitate a log of the cleanup activities.
For more information, leave a message with the Sturbridge Fire Department through its Facebook page or e-mail Jackson at DPW@sturbridge.gov.