Green North Smithfield: Two cleanups in April aim to remove trash from town streets

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The 2024 Clean & Green Day Committee, from left, are Vanna Mey, Jeap Phomsoupha, Bob Lepage, Kimberly Rawson and Scott Hawes.

NORTH SMITHFIELD – The annual effort to keep North Smithfield litter free will get a boost in 2024, with two events over the course of a week where volunteers will canvass town roadways removing trash.

North Smithfield’s annual Clean & Green Day will be held on Saturday, April 27, a community event for the past two decades, where hundreds of residents typically blanket the town to pick up tons of litter. Sign ups went live for that event last month, with dozens already indicating plans to participate.

The event begins at 8 a.m. at Town Hall at 83 Green St., where organizers will pass out t-shirts and cleaning supplies, and offer coffee and doughnuts to volunteers.

“We would like to focus on highly littered areas that need our help the most,” notes a write-up from the committee organizing this year’s event. “Our goal is to double up the volunteers so we can make a bigger impact on our main roads.”

The 2023 Clean & Green cleanup brought out 250 volunteers and filled a 30 yard dumpster, in a period where Rhode Island Resource Recovery Center waives tipping fees annually for such efforts.

And last week, Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful, a program of the nonprofit Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, announced a, “heavy duty,” cleanup of a particularly littered area of town to be held on Monday, April 22 from 4 to 6 p.m. On that day, volunteers will target River and Canal Streets, starting in Woonsocket.

That event is part of a series of spring litter cleanups, which are part of KBVB’s Great American Cleanup.

“GAC is an initiative aimed at encouraging individuals to come together, foster community, get outside, and end litter,” noted a release from KBVB Marketing Associate Julie Kaplan. “In support of this campaign, and with a commitment to fostering cleaner, greener communities, Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful is spearheading a series of events and activities to raise awareness about litter and its negative impact on our environment.”

The KBVB cleanup is strictly recruiting adult volunteers, as it will focus on two heavily-traveled roads. Those who wish to participate are instructed to meet at the American Legion Fairmount parking lot at 870 River St. in Woonsocket at 4 p.m. that Monday.

“We will be starting in Woonsocket and walking along River Street, which turns into Canal Street, and heading into North Smithfield,” said Kaplan. “This is a heavily littered and very public-facing area. We invite anyone who wants to come out and make our community more beautiful to participate in this clean-up.”

For the less die-hard volunteers and those with children, the Clean & Green event just five days later will provide a more appropriate chance to help out. Groups can choose an area to clean and register at the event website here, or show up at Town Hall that Saturday morning ready to do their part.

This year, the Clean & Green Committee asked the 8th grade art class at North Smithfield Middle School to help create a logo for the back of the volunteer t-shirts – available while supplies last.

“We were all thoroughly impressed,” noted the organization of the submissions. “We have chosen a winner, which was a tough task, but you will have to wait until the big day to see who won.”

All of the artwork submitted by students will be on display at Town Hall during registration on Saturday, April 27.

“We look forward to making this a tradition going forward,” the committee noted.

Both events mark a celebration of Earth Day, and show the local commitment to working to eliminate trash and beautify the region.

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