In the fourth week of the government shutdown, thousands of national park employees remain furloughed and many public spaces are unsupervised.
Accumulating garbage and human waste has caused several of the parks to close due to public safety concerns. Two organizations have decided to assist national parks staff in a nationwide cleanup effort during the government shutdown.
The cleanup efforts will kick off on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Volunteers with Keep Golden Isles Beautiful, Brunswick, Georgia, say they will clean up and maintain waste and recycling services at Fort Frederica National Monument and the Bloody Marsh National Monument during the government shutdown.
“The Keep America Beautiful national network of community-based affiliates is committed to ending litter and ensuring our public spaces are beautiful places for all to enjoy," says Randy Hartmann, senior director of affiliate operations at Keep America Beautiful. “While our volunteers can't totally abate and remove the litter and debris that is amassing at our national parks and public lands during the government shutdown, our affiliates have offered their assistance in the communities they serve to support the parks during this time of need.”
Other Keep America Beautiful affiliates are working with national parks staff in their areas to provide support for cleanups. Nestlé Waters North America has offered financial donations and employee volunteers to assist in the efforts.
“At Nestlé Waters North America, we believe that even one bottle or can that is not recycled properly is one too many,” says John Caturano, Nestlé Waters senior manager of packaging and recycling programs. “When we heard about the need in our national parks, we wanted to help.”
The initiative is one example of the long-term partnership between Keep America Beautiful and Nestlé Waters to address waste and recycling issues around the country.
In 2017, the two organizations launched an integrated recycling education and awareness initiative for the 10,000 school students affected by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Nestlé Waters also partnered with Keep America Beautiful to increase access to on-the-go recycling on beaches in Florida.