With the 2008 presidential campaign heating up, national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful(R) (KAB) is embarking on a campaign of its own as part of the national Great American Cleanup(TM), the nation's largest community improvement program which takes place annually from March 1 through May 31. Unlike the presidential candidates, the organization is making a rather unusual campaign promise -- this year, it will "fight dirty" and focus on improving communities nationwide.
The 2008 Great American Cleanup kickoff celebration will begin at 9 a.m. (PST) on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, in the Roundhouse of the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. Keep California Beautiful, California State Parks, Caltrans, California Highway Patrol, California Integrated Waste Management Board, Department of Toxic Substance Control, Mid-Pacific Region of the Bureau of Reclamation and the American Chemistry Council will host the national campaign kickoff and coordinate local and statewide volunteer efforts to fight against dirty streets, waterways and public spaces by removing litter and illegal dump sites, greening up parks and other public spaces, holding recycling drives, painting out graffiti, hosting educational events, and more.
After its Golden State kickoff, the campaign trail will continue with other Great American Cleanup kickoff events, one of which will take place in Mississippi where Keep America Beautiful will return for a third consecutive year as part of its Hurricane Katrina restoration efforts. With the assistance from its Gulf Coast affiliates and the City of Long Beach team, the organization will mobilize volunteers from across the country to clean up, beautify and remove debris from four key sites in Long Beach, Miss., on March 11. On April 5, a Washington, D.C. kickoff event as part of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival will include a cleanup of the Anacostia River; a Times Square kickoff on April 22 will precede the sprucing up of New York City's five boroughs; and street and river cleanups throughout the wards of Chicago will take place in May as part of the Keep Chicago Beautiful GAC kickoff celebration.
Nationwide, close to 3 million volunteers will campaign for a cleaner, greener America as part of the 2008 Great American Cleanup by participating in 30,000 community improvement activities and educational workshops happening in over 17,000 communities nationwide. All will spread the message of individual responsibility to keep America's communities clean, green and beautiful.
"Finding ways to improve the nation's communities - and our overall environment - is not only one of Keep America Beautiful's main objectives, but it's also a topic that is increasingly top-of-mind with most Americans," said Matthew McKenna, president & CEO of Keep America Beautiful. "In its 24th year, the Great American Cleanup continues to be a vehicle for our corporate partners and volunteers across the country to take a hands-on approach to sustainability by participating in cleanups, recycling drives, tree and flower plantings and other community improvement activities."
America's leading companies support this campaign for a cleaner, greener America. The National Sponsors of the 2008 Great American Cleanup are: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.; The Dow Chemical Company; Firestone Complete Auto Care(TM) and Tires Plus(TM); GLAD(R) ForceFlex Trash Bags; Pepsi-Cola Company; Sam's Club(R); The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company; Sprint Foundation; Troy-Bilt(R) Lawn and Garden Equipment; Waste Management, Inc.; and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company; Educational Partners: ReCellular, Inc. and Rubber Manufacturers Association.
President George W. Bush will serve as Honorary Chair of the Great American Cleanup for the sixth consecutive year. First Lady Laura Bush will be joining him as Honorary Chair for the fourth consecutive year.
In 2007, cleanup efforts resulted in 200 million pounds of litter and debris removed from America's landscape, including 3,500 illegal dump sites and over 10,000 abandoned vehicles. Participants planted 4.6 million trees, flowers and bulbs, and collected over 2.2 million scrap tires, 22.4 million pounds of aluminum and steel, 592,000 pounds of wireless phones and related equipment, and over 70 million PET bottles for recycling. Great American Cleanup events improved over 178,000 miles of roadway (more than seven times around the world), 121,000 acres of parks and public lands, 7,000 miles of rivers, lakes and shorelines, and 3,900 miles of hiking, biking and nature trails - equal to a winding trail stretching from Key West, Fla., to Seattle.