NEW PORT RICHEY — Many people don’t give a second thought about the negative impact on the environment when they don’t properly dispose of our trash.
About a year ago, Pasco County Environmental Lands adopted the mile of road to the county’s Eagle Point Park. The department conducts four cleanups a year on the road along Trouble Creek Road and Strauber Memorial Highway.
Thirteen volunteers from River Ridge High School and elsewhere took part in the latest cleanup last Saturday.
By noon, the workers had collected 20 trash bags and three recyclable bags of litter, as well as two televisions, a doghouse and a box spring mattress. One of the most unusual pieces of garbage that was found was live ammunition.
Volunteers got encouragement from drivers thanking them for their work.
Cristina Esposito, the Pasco County environmental lands program coordinator, was one of the supervisors for the cleanup.
“The primary reason we did Adopt-A-Road is because there is so much trash in this area. We could be cleaning it up today and next week there could be trash.” Esposito said. “We thought it would be a good idea to do more frequent cleanups here.”
While picking up garbage, volunteers also learn about the plants that they see along the way. “We do a bit of sneak environmental education,” Esposito said.
River Ridge student Jonathon Damato believes that they accomplished so much because all of the volunteers worked together. “Teamwork is essential in a roadside cleanup“ he said.
Many of the volunteers from River Ridge became involved through the school’s SPLASH club, which stands for Students Protecting Land and Sea Habitats. Club members assist in many cleanups and recycling programs.
Hannah Fahsbender, a high school seniorand president of the SPLASH club has done more than 10 cleanups in the last four year. “I’m gaining knowledge about what’s actually happening and what we can do to fix that.” Hannah said.
She believes that people need to be more aware of how they are affecting the environment with garbage. “This is where we live. This is planet Earth and we are hurting it by littering.”
The next cleanup on April 12 will cover a two-mile radius taking in the county’s J. Ben Harrill Recreation Complex, in Holiday. Volunteers of any age are welcome.
For more information go to http://pascocountyfl.net and click on the Environmental Lands Department link or call (727) 847-8140.