Roadside spring cleanup in Brome Lake

By Matthew McCully
Roadside spring cleanup in Brome Lake
(Photo : Courtesy Marc Pelletier)

Maybe bike trails and walking paths feel a bit crowded these days with social distancing recommendations still in place.
But according to Marc Pelletier, who helps organize the Brome Lake cleanup, there are around 500 kms of ditches and roadsides that could use a spring cleaning.
Anyone who feels safe venturing out is welcome to join the campaign and select a section of road to clean.
“We did it last year,” Pelletier explained. “We got 75 volunteers together, there was no confinement at that time, so it was a one-day affair and the town supplied lunch to thank everyone.”
This year because of social distancing, the cleanup is still taking place, but individuals and families are asked to head out on their own and choose a section of a street to clean.
Pelletier posted a list of around 65 streets on the actionslac-brome.blogspot.com website, and invited people with other suggestions to add to the list.
There are now around 80 streets or sections of road in the Brome Lake area on the spring cleanup list. Of those, Pelletier said around 50 have already been done.
“I figure we’ve picked up 200 bags of garbage. One guy filled a large trailer twice,” Pelletier said. “In some places things have been accumulating for years and years. We find a lot, it’s amazing,” he said.
As an added motivation, Pelletier said the cleanup is also a contest. Those who participate can send in a picture of themselves with the garbage they collected, and they will be entered into a draw to win one of 10 $100 gift certificates to spend in local businesses, courtesy of the town.
The contest runs until May 8 and winners will be drawn Monday, May 11, but Pelletier said there is no deadline for the cleanup. Volunteers are welcome until as much as possible has been cleaned up before spring moves into summer and the grass grows too high to see the garbage.
Pelletier hopes those who get involved will consider ‘adopting a road’ in the long-term.
“I got the Town to donate safety jackets to our ‘ambassadors’ who have committed to continue cleaning a road or section or even a neighbourhood throughout the 3 seasons.  In our first year, we had some 20 who signed up and I hope I can get many of this spring’s volunteers in the cleanup operation to sign up to keep an adopted area clean by visiting the area at least once a month,” Pelletier said.
“I assure you, it’s good exercise,” he added, explaining the benefits of the cleanup extend beyond keeping the environment clean.
The website https://actionslac-brome.blogspot.com/ has plenty of information about how to prepare and what to bring to a cleanup as well as some suggested precautions to participate safely with current social distancing requirements. It also has photos of some of this year’s volunteers showing what they have cleaned up so far.
“It’s just amazing the amount of stuff I’ve found,” Pelletier said. He once found an old tire that had been in the ditch so long a tree had grown in the middle of it. “It just shows how long the rubbish has been there,” he said.
For more information about the cleanup and details about how to participate and enter the cleanup contest visit the website or email actionslacbrome@gmail.com.

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