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News-Miner Opinion

A big thanks to the Youth Litter Patrol: These hard-working teens help keep the Fairbanks area clean

News-Miner opinion: They truly do our dirty work. We’re talking here about the Fairbanks Youth Litter Patrol, whose participants you can see from time to time collecting all sorts of trash and sometimes dangerous objects from along our roadsides.

They deserve high praise for doing work that many of us would find not only undesirable but also terribly back-breaking.

Yes, we do have Cleanup Day in Fairbanks after the annual winter breakup. It’s a great community event organized by the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce and supported by businesses, but trash unfortunately finds it was to the roadsides throughout the year. It’s not a good look for our town.

And so in comes the Fairbanks Youth Litter Patrol.

For those who aren’t familiar with the patrol, here’s a little bit about the program.

The Fairbanks Youth Litter Patrol is one of several such patrols funded by the Anchorage-based nonprofit Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling, which was founded in 1982. ALPAR has numerous other programs also.

The Youth Litter Patrol is a paying job for the teens. It’s funded through ALPAR with support from businesses. The Fairbanks patrol usually has two 10-person teams of 14- and 15-year-olds cleaning up our community in June and July each year.

And there’s sometimes more to this group than picking up trash when they’re out in the field. Daily News-Miner columnist Kris Capps wrote last month about a group of four teens in the patrol who, with their adult supervisor, helped a young ATV rider get his machine out of a bog, where it had become stuck.

The Fairbanks effort has been led by David Drumhiller since 1985. He and the many, many teens who have donned gloves and reflective safety gear and spent summer days picking up the garbage of others deserve the community’s continued thanks and financial support.

The fact that we need a Litter Patrol at all, however, is unfortunate.

How can you make the job of the Fairbanks Youth Litter Patrol easier, you might ask?

For one, don’t chuck trash out of your window as you drive.

You can also remember to cover that load of trash in your pickup as you head to one of the borough waste transfer sites or to the landfill. The Fairbanks North Star Borough’s code requires that you do so. Here’s what it says about that:

8.12.061 Collection and transportation of solid waste.

C. Vehicles or containers used for the collection and transportation of any solid waste shall be loaded and moved in such a manner that the contents will not fall, leak or spill therefrom. Where spillage does occur, it is the responsibility of the collector or transporter to pick up the material, return it to the vehicle or container, and properly clean the area. Any person collecting or transporting solid waste who permits the waste to fall, leak or spill from the vehicle or who fails to clean up waste which has fallen, leaked or spilled from his vehicle shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 in addition to the cost of cleanup incurred by the borough or other public agency.

D. Any person who arrives at any borough-operated solid waste disposal facility, including the South Cushman balefill/landfill and any borough solid waste transfer station, with a vehicle or container which is not covered or with a load which is not secured is in violation of this section.

Keeping our community as clean as can be should be a group effort. We’re thankful that the Fairbanks Youth Litter Patrol has been a key part of that effort for so many years. Give ’em a happy toot from your vehicle horn and a wave as you drive by.

The Daily News-Miner encourages residents to make themselves heard through the Opinion pages. Readers' letters and columns also appear online at newsminer.com. Contact the editor with questions at letters@newsminer.com or call 459-7574.

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The Daily News-Miner encourages residents to make themselves heard through the Opinion pages. Readers' letters and columns also appear online at newsminer.com. Contact the editor with questions at letters@newsminer.com or call 459-7574.

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