May 8th, 2014
Observer staff report
Thousands of Vermonters took to the roads on Saturday to participate in the 44th annual Green Up Day. From cans to papers to box springs to cigarette butts, tons of litter is now off the roadsides and in bright green garbage bags.
“For more than 40 years, Vermonters have supported Green Up Day by pitching in and lending a hand because we take pride in our state and know that it doesn’t remain beautiful by accident,” said Lt. Governor Phil Scott, who picked up two truckloads of trash around Central Vermont on Saturday. “The dedicated volunteer town coordinators, some of whom have been doing this for decades, make sure there are boots on the ground in communities from the Northeast Kingdom to our southernmost counties. Vermont depends on our tourism industry to bring much-needed dollars into the state; I can say with pride that tourists will now see a greener, cleaner, more beautiful Vermont when they visit.”
Williston Green Up Day organizer Jessica Demar, a senior planner in Williston’s planning and zoning office, told the Observer that 500 volunteers participated this year, collecting 475 bags of trash, a small refrigerator, a mattress and 38 tires, for a total of 2.84 tons of garbage – a literal ton more than last year.
Williston’s public works department was busy Saturday and Monday gathering up overflowing garbage bags scattered on roadsides throughout town.
Demar, who described the scene at Williston Community Park on Saturday morning as “lively,” was pleased that the number of volunteers was almost double last year’s tally. “There was a steady stream of people picking up bags ‘til almost 11… it was nice to see more people there!” she said.
Green Up Vermont reports that, while it’s too early to know exact numbers of participants and trash collected statewide, all signs point to a successful year.
“It was an exciting day from start to finish, and the rain early in the day didn’t seem to dampen people’s enthusiasm,” said Green Up Vermont President Melinda Vieux. “The new Green Up VT app, created by a group of talented volunteers, got so much buzz on social media that it added a whole new dimension to Green Up Day, being able to see people take part in real time.”
For more information, visit greenupvermont.org.