BAKERSFIELD, CA - A major effort to tackle the trash problem in Bakersfield began Friday. The city kicked off its freeway litter cleanup program, aimed at making Bakersfield beautiful again.
In 2002, Keep Bakersfield Beautiful had its first meeting with Caltrans. More than a decade later the group finally has a plan to clean up Bakersfield.
"Today would not be possible without the people who stood with me to tackle the litter problem," said Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall.
With an opening ceremony, Mayor Hall cut the caution tape, beginning a comprehensive plan to clean up litter.
"Today, we have a partnership in place to really make a difference," said John Enriquez of Keep Bakersfield Beautiful.
The group is combating the litter program with three cleanup crews. Kern County inmates will clean up the medians. Keep Bakersfield Beautiful volunteers will revamp the on/off ramps, and for the major mop up, a crew from the Bakersfield Homeless Center will focus on the major highways.
"It's a great opportunity to keep Bakersfield beautiful to move forward and make it look like it's supposed to look," said Phillip Montez from the Homeless Center cleanup crew.
"There's a lot of trash and it's nasty and it needs to be cleaned up," said David Orn from the Homeless Center cleanup crew.
With hard hats and helping hands, volunteers and the homeless crew did the program's first bit of cleaning on Highway 99 Friday. They found metal, part of a tire and even a $100 bill.
"We figure he's buying this morning," said Tom Burch, Keep Bakersfield Beautiful volunteer.
But, that's only after these workers do their part to beautify Bakersfield one full trash bag at a time.
"You know, you go up to other areas in Orange County, Santa Clarita, it's very clean. We want to be on the same par and we know we can," said Enriquez.
The homeless crew will start bright and early Monday cleaning up Highway 99.
Caltrans asks that you drive cautiously around the workers.