COVID-19 can't keep Capital City Clean Up down

It’s springtime in Edmonton and although the grass is greening up and flowers are blooming, there’s another seasonal sight: garbage.

Edmonton community leagues and business associations step in to spruce up city

'Let's do it together'


12 months ago
Edmonton volunteers, including the CBC's Adrienne Lamb, pitch in and pick up litter along Alberta Avenue. 1:42

Edmonton community groups were out cleaning up city streets over the May long weekend, including dozens of volunteers taking part in Operation Clean Sweep in the Alberta Avenue neighbourhood. 

Jesus Gonzalez, owner of Paraiso Tropical Latin Food Market on 118th Avenue, was part of the sprucing-up efforts. 

"All the snow melts, all the garbage is there, so we knew that was something that we needed to address," said Gonzalez, who's also the chair of the Alberta Avenue Business Association. 

With Stage 1 of the economic relaunch now underway, Gonzalez is looking for any way to attract customers back to support local businesses.

Tidying up can't hurt, he said. 

"Seeing everyone out here, smiling, everyone coming together for the cleaning, it couldn't have been better," he added. 

Jesus and Bruna Gonzalez hand out litter kits as part of Operation Clean Sweep along Alberta Avenue. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

Because of COVID-19, the regular collection points for Capital City Clean Up litter kits — like libraries and community recreation centres — have been closed by the City of Edmonton.

Cohen, Caisana and Joshua Semchuk showing off the litter grabbers. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

This year the kits, including garbage bags, a pair of gloves and a trash-grabber, were distributed through business associations and the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL).

EFCL executive director Laura Cunningham-Shpeley confirmed that the kits were available in Glastonbury, Forest Terrace Heights, Ritchie, Holyrood, West Meadowlark and Old Strathcona, to name a few.

According to the City of Edmonton, a total of 1,781 kits had been delivered as of the middle of May. 

Kits are also now available to the public through a form on the Capital City Clean Up web page. 

"There's been a lot of cigarette butts, like mainly by the bus stops," said 11-year-old Cohen Semchuk, who volunteered on the recent clean-up with his family. 

"It's really good 'cause I know I'm helping out a lot." 

In a two-hour shift, he and his four-year-old sister Caisana filled a bag with coffee cups, straws and bits of paper and plastic. 

Adrienne Lamb, host of CBC's Our Edmonton, picking up garbage along 118th Avenue.  (Craig Ryan/CBC)

The CBC's Adrienne Lamb was also pitching in and picking up trash. Recently, Edmonton AM host Mark Connolly helped out with Meals on Wheels deliveries and Rod Kurtz of Radio Active was filling hampers at Edmonton's Food Bank.

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