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Pushing litter aside

Dorothy Westerman
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (June 17/05) - Don't litter: it can not be said enough for Brian Kelln, the city's program manager of Community Services.

"I think Yellowknife is a beautiful community to live and raise a family.

"I'd like to see people think twice before they drop their cigarette carton or their drink can on the road," Kelln said.

"Let's try to keep Yellowknife beautiful."

The city has several programs aimed at getting picky about Yellowknife's streets and parks.

The Adopt a Street program, ongoing since 1995, has 48 members who assume responsibility for cleaning a street or block, Kelln said.

"It builds community pride to keep litter off the street and it helps the city control the amount of litter," he said.

Larger cities in Canada do not have near the litter problem Yellowknife does, he noted.

Kelln said a box of 125 garbage bags given to one family can be used up in a year and schools will go through two or more boxes per year.

"We make a sign saying the area has been adopted by that group," he said of the recognition given to the citizens.

Many help

Groups such as Boy Scouts, schools, offices and many individuals participate, he said.

Austin Marshall of Marshall & Company said his office also helps clean up part of the 48th Street block and the laneway about twice a year.

"Every year we gather one or two large bags," he said of the volume of garbage collected.

"We find lots of paper, old cups, bottles, cigarette cartons," Marshall said.

Chic Callas is one resident who helps clean up Matonabee Street.

"I just like the town to be clean," Callas said. "It's nothing to pick up garbage a I don't know why people throw garbage on the ground."

The Spring Clean Up grant program allows youth groups to pitch in and clean up the city while raising funds for their organization, Kelln said.

Each year, $30,000 is available.

"This year we had 29 groups apply. Each group will get $1,034," he said.

Another program, designed to pick up large items from households runs during spring clean-up.

"People can contact the city and they will pick up the item and take it to the dump," Kelln said. The week-long program ran May 16-20.

There can never be too many people helping out with the clean up, Kelln said.

"It would be great if every person or business adopted a street, park or neighbourhood.

"If everybody did that, I think you would see quite a difference.

"I challenge every business to adopt their work area and keep it clean," he said.