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Oklahoma City volunteers to get dirty for good cause

The Great American Cleanup begins March 1. Thousands of volunteers will help clean up Oklahoma.

From newsok.com/The Oklahoman
By: Ken Raymond
Published: January 25, 2011

During the Great American Cleanup last year, volunteers picked up trash along Oklahoma’s highways, waterways, open spaces and neighborhood streets.

“They got everything from a La-Z-Boy or a junked car to a cigarette butt on the highway,” said Sonny Wilkinson, projects manager for Keep Oklahoma Beautiful.

Over the three-month cleanup period, Oklahoma’s 27,000 or so volunteers combined to collect 8 million pounds of trash, Wilkinson said. That’s roughly the weight of 160 garbage trucks.

During the same time period, the other 49 states gathered a total of 68 million pounds, meaning Oklahoma accounted for more than 10 percent of the national total.

“That doesn’t mean we had the most litter,” he said. “It may mean that here in Oklahoma, we did a more efficient job of cleaning it up.”

The next Great American Cleanup begins March 1 and continues through May 31. Keep Oklahoma Beautiful is coordinating the state’s efforts. About 20,000 volunteers have already signed up, Wilkinson said, but more are needed.

“Community improvement goes hand in hand with economic development,” said Norma-Lynn Paschall, executive director of the Ardmore Beautification Council. “If it doesn’t look good, you won’t inspect it further. Like they say, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”

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