Heeding Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick’s ’09 calls on social media, approximately 20 students and city residents traded a few hours of relaxation on Labor Day for yellow gloves to try to clean up the garbage-strewn streets of Collegetown.
Over Monday afternoon, volunteers cleaned 16 blocks and filled 30 bags of trash, according to a post Myrick put on Facebook.
Most volunteers said their desire to help out stemmed from an abundance of trash scattered about on the main streets of Collegetown. Harold Schultz, an Ithaca resident who owns The Nines on College Avenue, added that he was motivated by a sense of civic duty — as well as his view that “the place was a mess.”
“People just leave beer cans, beer bottles and all kinds of trash just on the street and don’t put it in the garbage,” Schultz said. “Students were just coming back, they’re partying a little late, they’re drinking quite a bit and they’re getting careless.”
Although others, including Cornell students who came to volunteer, also cast blame on the student population for the state of the streets, Alderperson Stephen Smith (D-4th Ward), said the city shares responsibility for the mess.
“From the city’s standpoint, we could do a better job of emptying he trash cans — the trash bins are overflowing and when that happens, trash falls out and gets blown around the streets. It discourages people from putting things in the trash,” Smith said. “The other part is people get a little careless and reckless on the weekends.”
Myrick said the city would work to make structural improvements to avoid similar garbage pile-ups during the early weeks of future academic years.
“We’re going to try to add more trash cans to the streets, add more recycling to the streets [and] pick up the trash more frequently in Collegetown,” Myrick said. “But in the short term, something had to be done and I figured we could … get some people together and set a good example.”
Yet many volunteers said students, not city officials, needed to take responsibility for their actions.
“The students should make a little effort not just to throw things on the ground and things like that,” Schultz said. “It’s not really going out of your way to throw something in the garbage.”
Shiwani Bisht ’16 said in the course of cleaning up Dryden Road, she encountered large amounts of strewn food and bottles of alcohol.
Original Author: Emma Court