Keep America Beautiful, an organization dedicated to encouraging citizens to take greater responsibility for improving their environment, reported that its annual Great American Cleanup resulted in more than 48,000 gardens, xeriscapes and green spaces created in 2008. The movement involved public-private partnerships between businesses and all levels of government.
Three million volunteers contributed more than 6.7 million hours of effort to create these spaces. More than 30,000 local events involving 17,000 communities were organized as part of the campaign.
Recycling is an important aspect of the cleanup campaign, and the numbers returned support this. More than 189 million plastic bottles were reclaimed, 10.2 million pounds of aluminum and steel were recovered, 5.3 million pounds of electronics were collected for recycling and 37 million pounds of newspaper was recycled. Additionally, more than 100,000 trees were planted and 37,000 graffiti sites were cleaned up.
Other highlights include:
· Over 86 million pounds of litter and debris removed
· 15,200 junk cars removed
· 6,500 illegal dumpsites cleaned up (nearly twice the amount from 2007)
· Over 144,000 miles of roadway improved (this is almost six times around the Earth’s equator)
· 91,000 acres of parks and public lands improved
· 6,000 miles of hiking, biking and nature trails improved
· 7,000 miles of rivers, lakes and shoreline cleaned
· 2,700 acres of wetlands cleaned and improved
· 3,000 playgrounds and community recreation areas constructed or restored