Baltimore faith leaders and members of the community joined with Wheelabrator Baltimore team members at the end of October for a large-scale community cleanup as part of the ongoing We Can Bmore campaign, a multiyear public awareness and engagement initiative that invests in waste reduction efforts and the individuals, organizations and institutions that support this work in Baltimore.
The cleanup teams, known as Green Ambassadors, began work this summer and have cleared some 40,000 gallons of trash from Baltimore streets, sidewalks and alleyways.
The Green Ambassadors effort is a component of We Can Bmore, a joint initiative between the Ministers’ Conference of Baltimore and Vicinity, other community partners and Wheelabrator Baltimore. The Green Ambassadors program brings together area faith-based, law enforcement and residential leaders with Wheelabrator Baltimore team members to clean several city neighborhoods twice per week. We Can Bmore team members also go door-to-door to provide recycling education services and distribute free recycling bins supplied by the Wheelabrator Baltimore waste-to-energy facility.
In addition to promoting reuse in a city where the recycling rate is less than 20 percent, the campaign is designed to improve public safety and foster environmental justice throughout Baltimore.
“We know that cleaner streets are safer streets,” said Bishop J.L. Carter, pastor of Baltimore’s Ark Church and the president of the Ministers’ Conference, in a statement. “This campaign is a critical part of enhancing every aspect of our communities. Establishing partnerships with Wheelabrator Baltimore and local law enforcement enables us to improve the appearance of our neighborhoods, deter crime and promote healthier living conditions.”
“It’s a privilege for us to take an active role in this important community initiative to make Baltimore an even better place to live, work and play,” said Wheelabrator Market Manager Mike Dougherty in a statement.
The Green Ambassador program launched over the summer at Union Baptist Church in Central Baltimore. The expansion of the program now includes neighborhoods surrounding Ark Church as well as Liberty Grace Church of God in Ashburton, Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn and the Community Outreach Ministry in Westport.
“This initiative is critical to improving the quality of life for residents in Baltimore City,” added Carter. “In addition to enhancing the appearance of our neighborhoods, our community partners in law enforcement tell us this type of program helps reduce crime by demonstrating to potential offenders that we won’t tolerate any type of activity that diminishes our neighborhoods.”
We Can Bmore aims to improve Baltimore’s recycling rate of less than 20 percent. Local street teams funded by Wheelabrator Baltimore work with residents to go door-to-door to educate community members about reducing waste and litter as well as encouraging people to recycle. The teams distribute free recycling bins, educate residents on what products can be recycled and notify neighbors of recycling collection days.
“We Can Bmore and the Green Ambassadors are supporting environmental justice in Baltimore by educating residents about how to reuse more products and the need to divert waste from harmful landfills,” said Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway, pastor of Union Baptist Church, in a statement. “In addition to empowering people with knowledge, we are providing our neighbors with recycling bins and other necessities to take action and foster change one household at a time.”