The Northeast Iowa Peace and Justice Center (NEIPJC) in Decorah is organizing a citywide spring cleanup.
NEIPJC coordinator Julie Fischer explained the event to the Decorah City Council Monday night. Civic groups, clubs, youth groups, churches and individuals are being encouraged to participate in the event on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22.
Fischer said areas that need help are being defined. They include sidewalks, parks, trails, parking lots, schools and streets. Residents are also being asked to clean up in front of their homes and in their alleys.
“If you just drive through Decorah it looks like we don’t have much debris, but it you walk you do find a lot,” she said.
Fischer said she was only seeking the Council’s endorsement.
“I have no problem endorsing it. I suggest you be in conversation with the street department,” Council member Gary Rustad said.
City Manager Chad Bird said the city could provide a vehicle in a parking lot where volunteers could leave trash, or garbage could be placed next to public containers.
“We are encouraging people to recycle everything they can. I appreciate your support,” Fischer said.
NEIPJC has been showing the film “Trashed,” one of the films featured at the recent Oneota Film Festival in Decorah that documents the extent of the global waste problem.
“As much as we live inland, our plastic and cigarette butts end up in the ocean,” she said, explaining waste goes through storm drains into the river and eventually into oceans.
By keeping Decorah litter free, the event will also send a message the city “tolerates zero litter,” according to Fischer. In addition, participants in the cleanup will be looking for containers that collect pools of stagnant water where mosquitoes are likely to breed. They will be emptied and turned over.
NEIPJC is showing “Trashed” again today 11 a.m. Thursday, April 10, and 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 15. At 7 p.m. Earth Day, April 22, there will be a rally at the Peace and Justice Center, 119 Winnebago St.
Annie Zylstra also will give a presentation on her experience helping a village in India institute zero- waste initiatives.