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Inner Loop gets makeover in Earth Day cleanup

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Noelle E. C. Evans
/
WXXI News
Clean-up crews with the city of Rochester and NYDOT clean up refuse along the Inner Loop on Friday.

The Inner Loop got some TLC on Friday morning in honor of Earth Day.

Clean-up crews with the City of Rochester and the NY state Department of Transportation cleared up litter along the Inner Loop North from East Main Street to just before State Street. It’s part of a statewide “trash blitz” to clean up roads.

“As the weather starts to break, vegetation hasn't grown in, the snow has melted, so the trash is more apparent,” said Joe Leathersich with the state department of transportation. “It happens every year. So that’s why we’re doing what we do today.”

Along the side of the road, some of the trash stands out. There's a Mcdonald's happy meal box, used caution tape, cans, bottles, plastic cups, and takeaway food containers among so much else.

Some of it, including plastic bags, are tangled in branches of bushes and trees where birds sing. This is their habitat, too.

“You find a whole lotta stuff you wouldn’t expect,” Dennis Pitts with NYSDOT said. “People lose furniture while moving, they fall off the truck, you find mattresses and broken chairs and stuff, but you pick it up and keep going.”

According to NYSDOT, 75 workers filled 80 bags worth of trash as well as four 10-wheeler loads of litter picked up by street sweeper vehicles.

However, according to the state Department of Environmental Conversation, even those plastic garbage bags used to collect the trash by hand will take over 500 years to degrade.

It’s not a long-term solution to protect and restore the environment, but Pitts says it’s a start.

Richard Perrin, Rochester city’s commissioner of environmental services, said this clean-up is part of a wider initiative that includes planting 400 trees and encouraging more residents to create community gardens.

In the same spirit as the Earth Day clean-up at the Inner Loop, Perrin said there will also be a Clean Sweep Saturday on May 7 where city residents can volunteer to clean up and beautify city streets and neighborhoods.