A Clean Worcester

By Edith Morgan

There is so much going on in Worcester: new residents (we gained about 20,000 according to new US Census figures), new housing, new businesses – and slowly the city is polishing its image. But the complaints about litter, trash and sidewalks rendered nearly impassable by weeds, trash and other impediments continue to be heard in many parts of the city.

This summer you may have seen groups of green-shirted youths picking up litter and trash along our streets – members of the new “Worcester Green Corps.” This is a new effort, and there are plans for future efforts, involving various neighborhoods and groups working on those areas, so that keeping us clean is a year-round, city-wide effort, not just on Earth Day or the occasional spot clean up. Of course, employing our young people is an additional bonus and certainly something to be done regularly in the summer.

But I think we need to look at the larger picture, and I have a number of suggestions for residents of Worcester:

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Canal District (Water and Millbury streets), this morning. Pics by R.T.

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1. We have a good trash pick up and recycling system. I make sure that our yellow trash bags do not attract wildlife; we double bag our garbage and put some ammonia in each bag before it goes out on the sidewalk.

2. The recycle bins work well if you bag or weigh down the paper, plastic and cans so the wind cannot blow them all over. And if your jars and cans are clean, they do not draw wild life.

3. Weeds do a great job of gradually destroying sidewalks – any crack can be a great home for a seed that then turns into a plant with deep roots. After a good rain, go out and pull out all the weeds in your sidewalk and at the street gutter. After doing this for three years, you will see how much of a difference it makes. Weeds make good “catch-alls” for windborne litter.

4. Are you a renter, owner or absentee landlord? No matter! You are responsible for keeping your frontage clear, to the middle of the street. We all complain about our city taxes, but if each of us does not do his/her part and we have to hire crews to pick up after us, that will be expensive and time-consuming.

5. The future generations need to be tained from the very beginning that public property is EVERYONE’S job. Students need to pick up their trash on the playground every day, at every grade level . It’s not the custodian’s job to pick up after us. I am not asking kids to mop, vacuum or repair. But at a MINIMUM, THEY SHOULD NOT LEAVE DEBRIS ALL OVER WHERE THEY HAVE BEEN.

6. We all need to take pride in seeing that Worcester’s public places are pristine and a source of pride. Tenants, renters, owners, visitors, newcomers, old timers, old, young – we all have the same responsibility.

7. Do you bring your own bags to the grocery store? What do you do with the fast foods you eat in the car when you finish? And smokers, where do you toss your butts ? Remember, the filters are not biodegradable!!

8. Finally , Worcester is our home: We do not trash our nest.