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Keep Arkansas Beautiful launches 2024 Great American Cleanup

Keep Arkansas Beautiful is seeking volunteers for the annual Great American Cleanup, running through the end of May.
Nathan Treece
Little Rock Public Radio
Keep Arkansas Beautiful is seeking volunteers for the annual Great American Cleanup, running through the end of May.

Keep Arkansas Beautiful is looking to eclipse its record-breaking 2023 year by collecting even more litter during the 2024 Great American Cleanup.

In 2023, volunteers from each of Arkansas’ 75 counties collected over 630 tons of litter from across the state. Robyn Taylor, Volunteer Program Manager at Keep Arkansas Beautiful, says she is working to keep that energy going forward, but that litter prevention is key to keeping the state clean.

“Our goal is to get it clean and keep it clean,” Taylor said. “Hopefully, each year our volunteers will go up, but the amount of litter they pick up will go down.”

Taylor says it isn’t the agency’s mission to enforce litter laws, but instead to inspire volunteers to eliminate trash along Arkansas roadways and in public spaces. She says just stopping a small amount of litter from building up can have a snowball effect.

“We’re learning through our research data that litter creates more litter,” said Taylor. “People inclined to litter are more likely to do so in a space that’s already littered. It creates the illusion that people don’t care. We’re here to inspire, to get that sense of caring and pride in the community back.”

Keep Arkansas Beautiful is looking for volunteer communities to sign up for the 2024 Great American Cleanup, going on now through May 31. Last year saw a high volunteer turnout, and Taylor is hoping to see those kinds of numbers again. She says the more acres covered, the better.

“We had more acres of parks and public areas clean than ever before—over 772,000 acres—cleaned up by volunteers.”

Taylor says that you don’t have to have a large group of people to get out and pick up trash, just one person registering can make a world of difference.

“Don’t feel like you have to have a whole army behind you,” stressed Taylor. “One person going out and cleaning up their block can cause a huge chain reaction in a community.”

The Great American Cleanup runs through May 31, and there is a critical need for volunteers both before and after the April 8 total solar eclipse.

Registration is available online.

Nathan Treece is a reporter and local host of NPR's Morning Edition for Little Rock Public Radio.
Seth Hooker is a George C. Douthit Endowed Scholarship recipient, interning at Little Rock Public Radio from UA Little Rock's professional writing program. He enjoys (being seen) reading literary classics and one day aspires to write one of his own. He lives in Bryant with his wife and three daughters.