If you’re living in an apartment, you might not have the luxury of enjoying an expansive yard. That’s why it’s so important to take care of the parks and green spaces in your neighborhood; they serve as the collective backyards of those living in a community. So in honor of Keep America Beautiful Month, which occurs every April, here are some ways you can keep your neighborhood clean and beautiful.
Growing trees and other plants in your community is an obvious healthy step toward keeping your neighborhood beautiful. Take part in an effort to plant trees in public spaces, either with friends or a larger group. Talk to your landlord about ways to incorporate trees and other plants in your apartment complex. Get involved with a local community garden, which offers both physical and social benefits along with a positive change in the environment. If you don’t have a community garden nearby, maybe you can turn a local plot of land into something enjoyable and sustainable for the neighborhood.
In addition to being an eyesore, litter can be harmful. What’s more, research shows a strong link between litter and instances of crime. You can make your neighborhood a cleaner and safer place by organizing a neighborhood cleanup. Publicize the cleanup by distributing flyers to inform everyone about the date, time and other specific information. Have announcements made at local churches, organizations, youth groups, and club meetings to recruit volunteers. Send out a press release to local media outlets to gain additional exposure. To make the most of the cleanup, divide your neighborhood into sections, determine the size of volunteer crews for each area, and assign a captain for each crew. Make sure you have the proper cleanup equipment, such as rakes, shovels and heavy gloves.
Once you see the hard-earned results of your cleanup efforts, it might make you more mindful of how you treat your neighborhood. It's always easier to keep things from getting worse than to clean them up. Set a litter-free example for your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors to help keep your community in tip-top shape. Always keep a litter bag in your car so you won’t be tempted to toss unwanted trash out the window. If you’re a smoker, carry a pocket ashtray with you or keep a portable ashtray in your car to properly dispose of cigarette butts. If you’re a pet owner, make sure to pick up after your dog as you walk through your neighborhood, using newspaper delivery bags, scoopers or other methods to clean up. And, if you see litter on the ground, pick it up.
Many cities have local Keep America Beautiful affiliates. If you are unable to get out and contribute to local cleanup or planting efforts, you can still contribute by making a tax-deductible monetary donation or an in-kind contribution, such as supplies of mulch, plants or other equipment. Even a small donation can go a long way toward keeping your neighborhood livable and beautiful.