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Volunteers Attempt to Curb Waste as Shutdown Leads to Ugly Conditions in National Parks

With the government shutdown, national parks are seeing major accumulations of trash and litter – to such an extent that unsanitary conditions have led to some park closures. Now, Nestle Waters North America and Keep America Beautiful are working together on clean-up efforts. The two groups are mobilizing affiliate organizations and volunteers to clean and maintain trash and recycling services at various parks in the hopes of at least diminishing the negative effects of the shutdown.

The national effort kicks off on St. Simons Island in Georgia. The Keep America Beautiful local affiliate, Keep Golden Isles Beautiful in Brunswick, Georgia, has committed, with the help of existing and new volunteers, to manage trash and recycling service at historic Fort Frederica National Monument and the Bloody Marsh National Monument.

However, says Randy Hartmann, senior director of affiliate operations for Keep America Beautiful, volunteers can’t totally abate and remove a large amount of litter and debris that is amassing at the country’s national parks and public lands during the government shutdown. The waste accumulations are the result of the fact that, while visitor centers are closed and staffing is nearly nonexistent for now, the parks remain open and free of charge – and visitors are flooding in.

The longest federal government shutdown in US history is affecting around 800,000 federal workers, major agencies including the EPA, and national scientific research on climate and the environment.

For more information on how environmental and energy management is being affected, see US Government Shutdown Affects the EPA, Climate Research and Longest US Government Shutdown Hits Energy Star, Spares DOE.

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