CALTRANS JOINS IN THE ‘CLEANING AND GREENING’ OF LOS ANGELES
Los Angeles puts its collective back into a new campaign to beautify the city
District 7 Director Doug Failing, Maintenance Deputy Dan Freeman and Administration Deputy Jim Hammer were among the thousands of people who gathered in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, March 3 for the launch of the Keep Los Angeles Beautiful (KLAB) campaign.
They were in prominent company, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and New York Senator Hilary Clinton as well as many other dignitaries and celebrities. The new Los Angeles program is an affiliate of the national Keep America Beautiful campaign. Its mission is to promote volunteer cleanup and beautification efforts in the city. Los Angeles now joins approximately 15,000 communities nationwide and more than 2.5 million volunteers participating in Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup.
“Every day, city crews work hard to keep our streets and neighborhoods clean but to make L.A. the cleanest and greenest big city in America we need everyone’s help,” Mayor Villaraigosa told the crowd. “I want to encourage every Angeleno to help clean up their neighborhood!”
Senator Clinton expanded the message to include a national and global perspective. “Government needs to get ahead of the climate-change issue and the clean energy issue,” she said. “It’s time for us to take subsidies away from the oil companies and put them to work for cleaner, alternative, renewable energy.”
The event also honored Iron Eyes Cody, the famous “Crying Indian” of the Keep America Beautiful public service announcement that first aired on Earth Day in 1971. Titled “People Start Pollution, People Can Stop It,” that campaign went on to become one of the most successful in advertising history and is credited with helping to develop the environmental movement in the U.S. The actor was honored March 1 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Funding for Keep Los Angeles Beautiful came in part from a Bank of America Charitable Foundation grant for $50,000. Those funds will go toward the Mayor’s Million Trees L.A. Initiative.
Before dispatching the group to plant trees and flowers, pick up trash and remove graffiti at various sites around the civic center, the Mayor presented recycling awards to nine Los Angeles elementary schools. An award also was presented to Andy Lipkis, president and founder of Tree People. The volunteer service award, created by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, was presented to Lipkis for a lifetime of commitment to forest preservation and civic participation.
Kickoff event volunteers reportedly picked up 10 tons of trash and recyclables and removed 32,450 square feet of graffiti. The Great American Cleanup will be ongoing through May 31. Last year, more than two million volunteers collected 228 million pounds of litter and debris; picked up more than 2.5 million scrap tires and 37 million plastic bottles; cleaned 10,000 illegal dump sites; recycled 38.5 million pounds of aluminum and steel; planted 5.5 million trees, flowers and bulbs; and cleaned 6,000 miles of rivers, lakes and shorelines.