Kappa Kleans push targets trash in city

Via the Arkansas Democrat Gazette

The Jefferson County sheriff’s office partnered with the city of Pine Bluff and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. in a community cleanup on Feb. 6.

Members of the Gamma Sigma Chapter and Pine Bluff Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi along with members of Kappa League, the fraternity’s national service program, joined together as part of the organization’s new initiative — Kappa Kleans, according to a news release.

More than 20 members walked McFadden Road west of the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex with garbage bags in hand to rid city streets, ditches and thoroughfares of trash.

“It’s imperative for the health of the environment and our community that we do our best to stop the illegal pollution of our community,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr., who is also vice polemarch of the Pine Bluff Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi.

“It’s illegal to throw litter in your yard, streets or in public places. So, please use trash cans or recycling totes,” Woods said.

The sheriff’s office decided to partner with the fraternity to aid in its effort to keep Pine Bluff beautiful. It’s an ongoing effort that Woods believes everyone has a role in doing.

“Garbage thrown on the ground does not simply disappear,” he said. “If not disposed of properly, trash eventually contaminates the soil and water. Healthy soil and water are needed for growing food and clean drinking water.”

Woods said his constituents have expressed the need for more events throughout the city aimed at trash collecting, which was another reason his office made the choice to back the “Kappa Kleans” initiative.

“As the chapter adviser of the Gamma Sigma Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., it was a pleasure for young men to participate with the collaborative and community effort of Kappa Kleans,” said Ray Walker. “Relationships were built as we picked up unsightly trash. The three, Pine Bluff alumni, Gamma Sigma, and Kappa League became one for the city of Pine Bluff.”

The sheriff’s office in collaboration with the fraternity and city will offer ongoing liter pickup events throughout the year.

“We must remember that strong communities attract tourism and jobs,” said Woods. “Tourists and businesses are attracted to clean and beautiful cities with people who care about where they live. Attracting tourism and new businesses is important to the local community, creating more employment opportunities and higher-paying jobs.”

Low temperatures and windy weather didn’t stop the young men and mentors from collecting nearly two dozen bags, weighing approximately 440 pounds, and removing junk from main streets where often furniture and other household items have been discarded.

Woods encouraged residents to “respect future generations” and said if that doesn’t happen, nature’s beauty will get “destroyed” thus robbing future generations of the “opportunity to experience the natural world” that people enjoy now.

“For the well-being of your community, be a good citizen,” he said. “Graffiti, litter, and illegal dumping destroy the beauty of our communities. It is our responsibility to throw trash in its proper place and teach our neighbors to care for our environment.”

For more information on how to assist with “Kappa Kleans” or to report trash in the area, visit www.jeffcoso.org.