Volunteer group says it has cleared 1 million pounds of trash in Seattle camps
Oct 31, 2023, 3:31 PM | Updated: 4:32 pm
(Photo courtesy of We Heart Seattle)
We Heart Seattle, a grassroots nonprofit that organizes trash cleanups in our public spaces and offers resources to those in need, reported in a press release it has collected over a million pounds of garbage through approximately 300 cleanups between October 2020 and October 2023.
Volunteers throughout Seattle have logged more than 10,000 volunteer hours to achieve this immense trash cleanup among other We Heart Seattle goals, including getting nearly 200 homeless individuals off the streets.
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“I am thrilled at what we have accomplished to date. We are truly going where no one else will go – tackling trash from active and abandoned encampments, illegal dumping and venturing into hard-to-reach terrain,” Andrea Suarez, We Heart Seattle’s executive director, said in a prepared statement. “It’s very challenging work but our public spaces are simply too precious to neglect.”
The most frequent encampment cleanups We Heart Seattle targeted were at Kinnear Park (28), SODO commercial district (23), MacLean Park (18) and Othello/MLK neighborhood (17).
“The common denominator is that there is trash everywhere,” Suarez said on The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH 770 AM. “And I do question why we have a million pounds of trash to begin with. There’s still another million pounds out there to pick. But yeah, it was very clear that the data shows that the majority of the trash really falls within two districts. I think it’s important to point out as an effort for voter education and voter awareness.”
Suarez stated within Seattle, the districts that have had the most clean-ups and volunteer hours spent were District 2 and District 7. But Suarez is worried her nonprofit’s work will hide the crisis from residents not paying attention to the issues Seattle is struggling through.
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“People just aren’t aware. It’s really sad. It is really, really sad,” Suarez said. “And then you throw voting into the mix and it’s like, what do you think is going on down there? It’s not just pandemic trash, I mean, it was decades old. Old, old artifacts. Coke bottles from the 80s. I mean, this has gone back for a very long time. And people just don’t want to face the truth.”
We Heart Seattle takes donations on its website, and you can apply to volunteer for the organization too.
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