HARVEYS LAKE — Collecting almost 80 large bags full of litter from around the largest natural lake in Northeastern Pennsylvania is a hardy task.
On Sunday afternoon, a dedicated group of 29 volunteers took on that task at the third annual Harveys Lake Day Cleanup organized by the Harveys Lake Environmental Advisory Council.
“It was a successful cleanup,” said Megan Sgarlet Prynn, vice president of the EAC.
“Anything from chewing gum wrappers and paper products to broken ladders and discarded mattresses end up in our collection,” said Prynn.
“Over 20 of the bags were recyclables this year. Water bottles seem to be our biggest issue which is distrurbing,” she said.
“After the annual spring thaw, trash that’s been hiding under the snow all winter is often revealed,” she said. “The cleanup is a nice way to start fresh and participate in ‘spring cleaning’ at a community level,” she said.
The EAC along with local businesses and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the North Branch Land Trust helped cover the cost of the cleanup, she said. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation provides garbage bags, vests and gloves for the volunteers and disposes of the trash, she said.
In addition, the srate Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association arrange free access to disposal sites, she said.
“We can’t thank our partners enough for their assistance,” she said.
The event is organized in conjunction with Earth Day and in cooperation with Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup of PA, which is part of a nationwide campaign involving individuals, government agencies, civic/community groups, and businesses, she said.
Sid Halsor, EAC chairperson, said the cleanup not only helps the lake but also has statewide implications.
“Because Northeast PA is home to the largest natural lake in the state, we owe it to the commonwealth and its residents to do our part in protecting the lake’s watershed,” Halsor said. “By reducing litter we ultimately improve the quality of lake water and the health of our community,” he said.
Harveys Lake Borough Council President Michelle Boice, who is known for her commitment to keeping the lake clean, according to Prynn, lauded the efforts of the EAC and their volunteers.
“I am very proud of all who served on this committee and the many wonderful projects it has undertaken over the years. We received recognition and awards from the State for our recycling efforts,” Boice said.
“The EAC has made meaningful contributions throughout the year to the conservation of our land and water,” she said.
“This event is one way for the Harveys Lake EAC to provide residents and visitors with an opportunity to take action. It is also a great way for environmentally conscious community members to do something positive on a local scale to wrap up Earth Week,” Prynn said.
“The lake is a precious resource at the center of our community … and we owe it to future generations to keep it clean,” she said.