On the morning of Saturday, September 18, South Plainfield citizens came out to enjoy a late summer day and give the Borough a good cleaning before leaf-fall hides the litter. Because the pandemic is still with us, Covid19-safe protocols were followed. Volunteers masked and worked in groups of ten or fewer people to allow social distancing. Meeting behind Borough Hall to collect supplies, they dispersed to their assigned locations and worked up to three hours bagging the litter they found. In all, 100 orange bags were filled and over 1000 pounds of large debris was gathered by 151 people who put in 384 worker-hours on this task, according to cleanup reports that were filed at the end of the event. Twenty-six spots were cleaned, totaling 2.5 miles and 110 acres. The Recycling Program Litter Patrol crew collected the bags for disposal during the week.
Fall cleanups used to be much smaller-scale than the Borough-wide efforts in the spring. Since the pandemic began, many residents and even people from neighboring towns have stepped up and pitched in. The High School Environmental Club with the French Honor Society rallied more than 60 volunteers and organized themselves into crews that worked at twelve locations, ranging from the school campuses to vacant lots. They helped the Borough and earned community service credits they need for graduation.
Ten people from the Buddha’s Light International Association-NJ filled 10 orange bags with debris from the stretch of Metuchen Road between Belmont Avenue and Oak Tree Avenue. The Knights of Columbus returned to Coolidge Street, which they tackled last spring, and gathered another 9 bags of trash and 9 buckets of motor oil (fortunately closed and not leaking). Boy Scout Troops 124 and 125 covered the vacant lot across from Quick Chek on Sampton Avenue, and the Municipal Complex grounds, The Republican Organization again attacked the area around the I-287 interchange on Durham Avenue.
A focus of this cleanup was to address Adopt-A-Spots that have lost their sponsors and have not been cleaned in some time. These include Walnut Street Park, Shadyside Park, Putnam Park, Metuchen Road, New Market Avenue, Front Street and the Belmont Avenue Stream Crossing. In addition, several Adopters took this opportunity to give their spots an extra cleaning: Stillman Photography Services (Fireman’s Memorial), Bourbeau Family (Tompkins Ave stream crossing), Walezak Family (Cotton Street Park), Cub Pack 207 (Highland Woods Nature Reserve), and Cub Pack 224 (Veterans Park).
On top of all this, there were the unaffiliated families and individuals who fanned out to their assigned roadsides, parks and open space lands to put in two or more hours picking up what others had dropped. The Clean Communities Advisory Board thanks them for their efforts and community spirit.