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Residents ready to help clean up Durham should dig out their work gloves and boots and mark their calendars now for the annual North Carolina “Big Sweep,” coming to Durham on Saturday, October 5, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The 2013 Big Sweep, coordinated by the City of Durham’s Stormwater Services Division with the Public Works Department, the Durham County Soil & Water Conservation District, and Keep Durham Beautiful, Inc., will focus on removing litter from Durham’s streams, watersheds, streets, and parks.

According to Jennifer Brooks, soil conservationist and education coordinator with the Durham County Soil & Water Conservation District, last year’s Big Sweep was a huge success thanks to the efforts of hundreds of residents who combed the community to restore Durham habitats, beautify the landscape, and protect the waterways. Event organizers hope for a record number of volunteers to match or surpass the 20,513 pounds of litter and debris collected in 2012 by 416 volunteers.

“Litter causes seriously negative health consequences for people, the environment, and the well-being of wildlife,” said Brooks. “It washes from streets to storm drains to creeks. It entangles animals and can be toxic when ingested. Cigarette butts are extremely poisonous to small water organisms and to birds that use them to build nests.”

If volunteers cannot participate on October 5, they are encouraged to pick another day in October to roll up their sleeves and help clean up Durham.

Durham residents, organizations, and groups interested in volunteering for this litter cleanup event should contact Brooks at (919) 560-0558 or by email at jbrooks@dconc.gov. Volunteers may also register on the Durham Big Sweep website at http://Bit.ly/DurhamBigSweep.

About North Carolina Big Sweep

North Carolina Big Sweep was founded as Beach Sweep in 1987. In 1989, a public-private partnership officially became Big Sweep, the nation’s first statewide waterway clean-up. Since its founding, North Carolina Big Sweep has had more than 200,000 volunteers and collected millions of pounds of trash from North Carolina watersheds. To learn more, visit http://www.NCBigSweep.org.