“Environmental damage such as graffiti, fly- posting, and general littering is a menace that is becoming all too prevalent, not just in inner cities but in many communities – urban and rural.”
– Margaret Beckett
One of the best things about Alaska to me is how clean it is. Of course at this time of year, with breakup revealing an entire winter’s worth of trash, you may be wondering what I mean.
In general, Alaska is one of the cleanest states I have ever seen. It’s refreshing to be able to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors without having to wade through plastic bottles, bags, paper and food trash. For the most part, people here have pride in the land, community spirit, and I frequently witness people taking a moment to pick up litter and throw it in the bin.
I know we don’t live in a litter-free paradise. I get grumpy when hikes with my dog are interrupted by having to play hopscotch over dog poop “landmines.”
I’ve started carrying shopping bags and wearing rubber gloves to deal with my encounters with winter’s litter. It’s not my job, but if I don’t do it, who will? We all have to be proactive about preserving Alaska’s beauty for ourselves, our community, and for future generations.
In addition to picking up little bits on daily walks and hikes, I also participate in the annual Anchorage Citywide Cleanup Week.
The week-long event focuses and encourages everyone in the community – individuals, teams, schools, and businesses to take ownership and pride in our beautiful city.
I won’t say that I enjoy picking up after other people, it does irritate me, but if I can do my part once a year to keep Alaska looking clean, it’s worth it.
As you travel through Anchorage and Eagle River that week, you will see church groups, Scout Troops, businesses, and groups of friends. Some groups come up with fun team names or have team shirts made up. Some even go in costume. There is no limit to the creativity and fun that can be had.
Going out of your way for your community has so many benefits, both visible to others, and internally.
I like knowing that such a simple act can make my heart and soul feel good and that I am making a difference, even if it is small. I love it when people come to our state and mention how clean it looks, how pristine, how the air is pure, the running water in the streams looks drinkable, and that they feel transported to a more utopian place. So, if you see me on the side of the road or out and about this week with orange bags in hand, honk your horn, wave, and give me a hand! I would love to meet you.
This is MY Alaska, and I’m doing my part!
Anchorage Citywide Cleanup week is April 27-May 6
- You can pick up two free orange bags per person from Fred Meyer stores in Anchorage and Eagle River
- If you have signed up as a team, you may reserve extra bags
- Sign-up is free (see CityWideCleanup.org)
- The dumps will accept ORANGE BAGS ONLY free of charge during the week.
- No yard waste.
- Free dump days are April 28th and May 5th at the Anchorage Regional Landfill. Accepted on free dump days: Household and mixed trash in regular bags.
CityWideCleanup.org for more information
“Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of education, and like most things, you must cultivate a taste for them.”
– Benjamin Disraeli
Drusilla Stinson is a Gold Star Wife currently living in Eagle River. She is an avid traveler and loves exploring, having adventures, and collecting stories. She likes gardening, hiking, foraging, cooking, spending time with her dogs, and volunteering in the community. Dru does a lot of writing, reading, and arts and crafts and her downtime. She enjoys theater, art, and learning new things. To reach Dru, email: firstname.lastname@example.org