Citywide cleanup is Saturday

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 25, 2003

[4/25/03]Volunteers are lending a hand today and Saturday to clean the environment as organizations sponsor Earth Day 2003 celebrations, citywide cleanups and garbage collection.

Exchange students living here have taken a special interest in cleaning their second home and will participate in the Great American Cleanup sponsored by Keep Vicksburg-Warren Beautiful and the City of Vicksburg.

Kaori Matsuo, a 19-year-old senior at Vicksburg High School from Japan, said her experience here has been great because of the people, a reason she’ll be picking up litter.

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“It’s important to express our thanks and show that I appreciate Vicksburg people,” she said.

The five exchange students decided a few months ago to volunteer as a way to give back to the community, said Beth Porter, coordinator for the EF Foundation For Foreign Study in Vicksburg.

“It’s a little thing for us to do, but it may be a big thing for the community,” said Ana Miravalles Plasencia, 15 and a junior at Warren Central High School, who’s from the Canary Islands.

The group will help clean a part of Vicksburg that is exclusive to the United States n Wal-Mart.

“Wal-Mart has nearly everything you need, and it’s not too expensive,” said 17-year-old Gerrit Dusterburg, who’s a senior at Porters Chapel Academy.

About 40 neighborhood associations, organizations and other volunteers, up from last year’s 35, are cleaning up, said Holley Simrall, KVWB executive director.

“I think more people in Vicksburg are aware of the importance of keeping the environment clean,” she said.

Volunteers will pick up litter from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and trash can be dropped off at the former Battlefield Mall from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Residents can take items such as clothes, furniture, litter, automotive batteries, tires and metals to the former mall parking lot on North Frontage Road.

Hazardous materials including batteries, paint, used oil, antifreeze, pesticides, insecticides, aerosols, acids and flammable liquids will not be accepted.

For the first time this year, organizers are providing an incentive for volunteers called “Riches in the Ditches,” in which plastic bags with a pink piece of paper will be placed in some of the areas scheduled to be cleaned. The slips of paper can be redeemed at the collection site for coupons to local businesses.

Simrall said she is hoping the event is fun for participants and gives them a sense of giving back to the community.

Employee volunteers from the Mississippi Department of Transportation will also help free Warren and neighboring counties of litter today as part of an annual event called Trash Bash. In Warren County, Interstate 20 from the Flowers interchange to the Big Black River will be cleaned.

Additionally, Alcorn State University will conclude its Earth Day 2003 celebrations today with an environmental symposium, a public officials symposium, an essay contest, a dirty sock contest and a dorm cleanup by students.

Earth Day, celebrated nationally on Tuesday, was founded in 1970.