Headline: Midtown residents taking litter seriously

Photo by purplepix (http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexchaffee/), used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

With all the problems an urban neighborhood faces, what difference would picking up litter every week on every block make? Volunteers who have signed on to the new “Litter, It Matters” program in Old Hyde Park hope it will make a big difference. The program is the idea of Old Hyde Park resident Nadia Karpilow, who had been thinking for a while about the need to make picking up litter a priority. She kicked off the program on Earth Day in April of this year.

“I hate litter,” she says. “It has a great impact on people’s psyches. And I thought, ‘This is something I can do myself.’” She figured she would take on her own block and ask other people to “pledge” to maintain their blocks. She divided Old Hyde Park  (bounded by Broadway and Gillham, 39th and Linwood) into 68 blocks. So far, she has 13 volunteers who have pledged to do a weekly cleanup of 25 blocks.

The cleanup program is meant to offer residents a quick and simple way to do something that has an impact. Karpilow says she wants to focus on the positive. She doesn’t want to preach about the evils of litter, but she knows when people hear or read “Litter…It Matters,” they will automatically ask why it matters. And that can lead to education and a greater awareness of all the ways litter does matter to neighborhoods.

By the way, the program started in Old Hyde Park, but it’s open to all neighborhoods in Midtown. In fact, Karpilow says her first volunteer came from Hyde Park, the neighborhood to the east of Old Hyde Park.

The group will get together tomorrow, July 7, at 10 a.m. at 3648 Wyandotte for coffee and bagels and to replenish the volunteers’ stock of trash bags. Feel free to join them if you want to pledge to clean up your own block. 

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