Occupy Wall Street Members Hard at Work Cleaning up Cigarette Butts
Occupy Wall Street is in its second month now and the protesters ran into a problem the other night that its organizers likely didn't see coming. Their occupation zone, Zuccotti Park, was filled with trash. The vast majority of it came from cigarette butts. A common problem with traditional cigs, as opposed to the cleaner e cig, is that smokers mindlessly toss the butts all over the place. This is nothing new, but it's causing a mini environmental crisis in New York City with all of the protesters huddled together and many of them puffing away.
Fearing eviction by the city, protesters went into overdrive after Sanitation repeatedly announced: "Everyone is Sanitation," according to Sanitation member James Molenda. Everyone in the park toiled away to clean up the mess.
We had people cleaning the cracks between bricks with toothbrushes," he said. "A 65-year-old man was cleaning out every single crease with a narrow broom, getting all the cigarette butts.
The following morning the city backed down from their proclamation that all occupiers were to leave so that an official cleaning could be performed. In addition to James there are around nine other members of the movement that make up the core sanitation crew. They work hard every day to prevent Occupy from looking like an irresponsible camping trip and more like a serious protest spurred by people who care about the world in which they live. Cleaning up after themselves is great, but the best practice would be to get hteir fellow occupiers to stop smoking or use the e cig in order to keep the place clean in the first place.
Cigarette butts are a constant problem that must be addressed round the clock, but they're not the only sanitation issue at play. Dust has built up over the past month and change and it's making everyone's noses all kinds of stuffed up. There's also trash accumulating from food and other things every day. Moreover, it's a challenge to clean up under and around all of these sitting, standing and sleeping individuals.
New York City has its clean-up crews collect trash from the park's four corners on a daily basis. Recyclable are collected by 1 am each morning.
The city still refuses to allow port-a-potties, though. As a result, the occupiers are straining their relationship with the locals. Protesters have been asked not to relieve themselves on public doorways, but the situation is problematic even when they follow that guideline. But if everyone chips in to help keep the park clean, protesters hope the movement can continue on until their demands are met.
Not even famous guests are allowed to pop-in without doing their part. Alec Baldwin arrived one night and James Molenda saw an opportunity: "I told him to grab a broom and pan and get to work.
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