BRISTOL – Grabbing a trash bag and heading outdoors, residents gathered across Bristol Saturday to take part in the second Community Clean Up Day as a means of recognizing Friday’s Earth Day by looking to rid the city of litter.
Jan and Alan Gyurko were among the first volunteers to visit 51 High Street to collect trash bags and other supplies from the city before heading out to Riverside Avenue and picking up trash along the road.
Alan said he and his wife had come to help because they wanted the city to “shine.” He noted that the city’s state was a reflection of those who lived within it. He said the pair had lived in Bristol for many years and felt it was a good place to reside.
“You don’t want dirt and trash and garbage in your town. I’m very proud of Bristol,” said Jan. “It’s a nice town to live in with good people and if you drive down here and see a bunch of trash, it doesn’t give a good impression. Even as a tiny kid, I grew up with don’t you dare litter.”
The pair said picking up Bristol was important and residents should take responsibility for it.
“We’ve put out a lot of information so we’re hoping people will get out and clean up their neighborhood,” said Bristol Mayor Jeff Caggiano. “They don’t have to just do it on Earth day or today, they can do it any day. This time of year, if you see trash, pick it up.”
City Councilwoman Cheryl Thibeault said the council was proud of the city and wanted everyone to be as well and that’s why she and fellow members were also out and picking up during the event.
Director of Bristol Public Works Ray Rogozinski noted wooded areas along roadsides were often hotspots for litter and that the department would go out and clear areas.
“Certainly these types of community events help, not just for the fact it cleans up the litter, it sends the message that litter is a problem to begin with,” he said. “Typically, when you have long stretches of road and there aren’t structures there and it’s more remote, there are definitely designated areas that have a combination of litter and dumping.”
Bristol Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services Superintendent Dr. Josh Medeiros said the event was focused on promoting good stewardship of the city’s environment and was also a means for area residents to take pride in their community. Along with the community clean up, several ongoing projects lately have been looking to improve Bristol park habitats.
“Our mission is to create safe, attractive and well-maintained parks,” he continued. “Invasive species are really prevalent across the state and we make a concerted effort to remove them or they overtake the landscape. Any help we can get, we always appreciate in community efforts.”
The superintendent noted the department also sponsors Green Days throughout the summer if residents want to continue to be involved in beautifying their community.
Diversity Council member Sandra Bogdanski said this was the only planet humanity gets and it’s important to take care of it. She emphasized the importance of getting youth involved with clean up to carry on the message of stewardship.
“My mom taught a good lesson at a young age. I’ve seen kids drop trash at Rockwell Park and asked them nicely to pick it up and put it in (a trash bin). I just think we all need to do our part,” she said.
What’s something simple residents can do right now if they’re not picking up trash? According to Alan Gyurko, if one feels like the need to get rid of that soda can or whatever other trash in the car, just keep it in your vehicle until you can find a garbage can, because it adds up quickly on the side of the road.