Many thanks to Ky Plaskon and his family, who spent Presidents Day cleaning up BOTH sides of Sutro St between McCarren and Timber. You really went above and beyond! Take a minute to read Ky’s thoughts about his first cleanup with his family. By his math, there are almost 600,000 bags of trash out there waiting to be picked up. Read how fun it is to pitch in!
A Presidential Trash Day
by Kyril (Ky) Plaskon
My 6-year-old daughter, my mother, Sandy Bovee, and I set out Presidents Day to pick up garbage on a half-mile stretch of road near my house with the help of the Adopt-A-Spot program for Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful. As we drove on Sutro between McCarran and Timber, we looked out the window and it really didn’t look that bad. But it was time to take a closer look and really get our hands dirty. KTMB supplied the rubber gloves, trash bags and pickers. My mom was upset because she didn’t have an orange vest and my daughter insisted on wearing her vest which was more like a bright orange prison jumpsuit because it was so big.
Her attitude about picking up trash was an emotional roller coaster. At first it was not her idea of a good day off. But as soon as she had her tongs and vest, she grabbed the first piece of garbage she could find, screamed and yelled like it was long lost treasure.
It was a good thing we started out on the bushy side of the road, because hidden in those thorny bushes were huge amounts of garbage. The tongs made a huge difference and I tried to pick up all the cigarette buts too that were hidden in long piles of leaves. There were shirts, plastic bags, milk cartons, chip bags, lots of toilet paper and soda cans too. I was surprised to see lots of ketchup packets smashed all over the place too. It really was like a treasure hunt. Among the trash was a full soda. My daughter and I joked about how it would probably taste great.
After the bushes came a business area that had all sorts of trash from police tape to plastic pipe, 15 giant beer bottles and a huge pile of sliced lemons that had been baking in the sun for who knows how many years. My daughter wanted to know why they were there and I really had no explanation.
After the businesses there was an old abandoned house. I noticed that a window was broken and there was graffiti everywhere. Then I saw more broken windows and a huge pile of garbage and shopping carts.
I cleaned up behind my mother and daughter, grabbing anything they missed. Eventually they stopped and I looked up at them. They were looking down into an irrigation ditch with horrible frowns on their faces. I looked down there and frowned too. The sight was overwhelming. Bottles, shopping carts, shoes, sleeping bags, fast food containers, an 8-track, plastic bags, bricks were all soaking in the mucky water. My mom and daughter walked on and I tried to do the same. But I saw some stuff near the banks of the ditch, so I decided to pick that up. Before I knew it I was down in the ditch yanking on buried shopping carts and picking up ever piece of garbage I could. Yes, it was horrible and I was aware of that, but I kept telling myself, “This isn’t going to take that long.” And it didn’t. Within about 10 minutes, I was done.
The other side of the street was nearly completely clean. I took my family up to the sign that I hope will someday say Adopt-A-Spot partner: www.KidsGrow.us — my daughters nonprofit that connects kids who grow vegetables with a free table at farmers markets to sell their produce.
When it was all said and done, in two hours we had picked up 5 bags of garbage and 9 shopping carts in less than a half a mile of road. Now, lets put that in perspective: If we covered a 5-foot-wide path across the equivalent of a mile (5280 feet) that is 26,400 square feet we covered. The Reno-Sparks metropolitan area is approximately 106 square miles or 2.95 billion square feet. By my quick calculations, that would be roughly 559,680 bags worth of garbage laying around and waiting to be picked up in the Truckee Meadows.
Now, I know this seems like a monumental task ahead of us, especially when one of my team members — my daughter — said she was really bored by the end. But at the end of the day, she came up to me, gave me a big hug and said she had fun and wants to go do it again tomorrow. She might even bring the trash tongs to school for show and tell.
Later I posted some pictures of the clean up on Facebook and people started asking, “Was there a clean up event today? How did I miss it?” No, you didn’t miss it. It’s still out there, and if you create your own event like we did, and give it a shot with the help of Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, you’ll be talking trash in a good way like I am. KTMB made the process easy and supplied everything we needed for a good clean time.