Volunteers by the score hit the streets for a cleaner Cape Coral
Nearly 100 people came out Saturday morning to help clean up Cape Coral.
The Northwest Neighborhood Association and the Cape Coral Police Department partnered together to host the 15th annual Earth Day Trash Bash from 8 a.m. to noon. The aim of the event is remove trash and debris from the northwest area of the city.
David Scott, past president of the neighborhood association and the event organizer, explained that the nationwide cleanup is “more symbolic,” a way for people to express that they will not tolerate litter. The Cape cleanup enables locals to do that, and more.
The event initially began as a way for residents to get to know their neighbors and local police officers, he said. The cleanup continues to provide citizens with that opportunity, helping to strengthen the ties in the community.
“It’s basically to send the message that we take pride in this neighborhood and we take pride in each other,” Scott said.
On Saturday, participants met at the Burnt Store Boat Ramp before heading out by land and water. There were about a half-dozen kayaks, a boat from the CCPD’s marine unit, a vessel from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission, and many on foot.
The target area this year was mostly west of Burnt Store and the Northwest Spreader.
Cape residents Bill Brunner and Barry Hendrickx hit the water by kayak Saturday. The two traveled north up the waterway and picked up bottles, a canvas bag and other items.
“A lot of plastic bags, and lumber,” Brunner said.
The two have taken part in other cleanups, including the one in the south Cape.
“I do it because I like kayaking and the outdoors, and it’s nice to see the Cape clean,” Hendrickx said.
According to Scott, the trash collected during the cleanup has changed over the years. During the first few years, volunteers would find evidence criminals would dump, like a wall safe. In the boom years, it was construction debris, and now, it is old real estate signs.
“We do make a dent,” Scott said. “It has made a difference.”
On Saturday, the group filled about three 50-yard Dumpsters before calling it quits.
Cape residents Hugo and Myriam Rojas helped fill the Dumpsters. The couple marked their fourth year participating in the cleanup. They explained that it is important to keep the Cape clean – several times a week they walk their neighborhood and pick up trash.
“We like to have a nice neighborhood,” Myriam Rojas said. “Clean.”
“The oceans are full of junk, and it comes from here,” Hugo Rojas added.
They found some notable items Saturday, including three vacuums and a television.
Some of the sponsors for this year’s cleanup included the Domino’s Pizza on Skyline Boulevard, Bait Pest Control, Keep Lee County Beautiful, Waste Pro and the Northwest Neighborhood Association. Bait Pest Control has been a main sponsor since the start.
Walt Tumiati, of Bait Pest Control, said his company has participated 14 out of the 15 years. He cited the camaraderie and cleaning up the city as why he keeps sponsoring it.
“To give back to the community,” Tumiati said. “It’s a great community project.”