Keeping Local Parks Clean

By Eudy Castro

City parks have been a staple for people looking to get time away from home during the COVID-19 pandemic but it has had negative effects for the environment. On September 7 the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation hosted a volunteer event called “Monday Morning Pitch In” at St. Nicholas Park located from West 128 Street to West 141 Street, St. Nicholas Ave & St. Nicholas Terrace. The event ran from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. Participating was free as they want as many volunteers as possible to help keep the park clean.

Littering has been an issue for years in the city. With parks being used more now during the pandemic the parks are filled with more garbage than normal. The pitch in aims to ensure that parks are as healthy as they can be. “The parks are used the most on the weekends, which is why we set up this up early in the morning on Mondays,” said Edward Glass, the coordinator of the pitch-in.

Glass has been the coordinator for other pitch-in events throughout the summer. These events began in June of this year. St. Nicholas Park is only one of many parks that he and other volunteers have helped keep clean. “With COVID going on, we noticed the parks have been used more often, which means more trash,” he said. “The city decided that we needed to set up an initiative to take care of that.”

Parks have hosted different activities like sports, walks, celebrations, and  picnics. “The parks in New York are a great resource for all of us,” said Christina Mahlet, a volunteer at the pitch in. “People should be cleaning up whether they’re in an event or not. It’s good to be healthy not just for yourself, but for everyone else.”

The pitch in events reinforce the importance of keeping parks clean. “We live around parks, this is nature and we as a community need to keep this clean,” said Dodie Hernandez, another volunteer and maintenance worker. “People walk their pets around parks. Parks are supposed to be beautiful.”

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation hosts a variety of volunteer events on their website: https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/volunteer.


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