While we may occasionally run across a used diaper in the supermarket parking lot or a wayward plastic bag billowing from a cactus, Tucson is overall pretty clean.

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Sure, the city has its stenches – especially that garbage can by the drinking fountain near the Rillito River Walk Park – but at least its contained to a garbage can.

One of the reasons behind Old Pueblo’s pristine nature is the Tucson Clean and Beautiful projects.

Since I’ve received three recent news releases about folks cleaning stuff up, it’s only fair to give them some recognition.

Kudos to these folks who are part of the Adopt-A-Park and Public Areas Program:

CITI employees – Workers from this financial services company have been cleaning up the 2-mile stretch of Rita Road near Interstate 10 and their offices at 9060 S. Rita Road. Their efforts, which began this spring, will be recognized at a ceremony at their offices at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Kino School – These students, who range in age from kindergarten to high school, took on Children’s Memorial Park, 4851 N. 15th Place, in September of last year. Their efforts will be honored at a ceremony and picnic at the park starting at 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Sahuaro Girl Scout Council, Starcatcher Service Unit – These do-gooders have spent the past two years maintaining their adopted Linden Park, 300 S. Desert Ave. They were honored this past weekend.

Thanks! for helping to keep Tucson Clean and Beautiful.

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Now if we could just get someone to adopt the garbage can by the Rillito River walk, we’d be set. And there still are a few other areas that need work.

Shockingly, some apartment complexes don’t even offer recycling programs.

Other folks don’t seem to care about where they chuck their trash. I’ve seen piles of cigar butts, weeds – and even banana peels – simply hurled over backyard fences into an alleyway.

Some trim their trees then throw all the branches in a wash.

And where does that mattress come from that always seems to end up in a riverbed?

Another poor trash habit is from folks who gingerly pick up their dog waste, scoop it neatly into a plastic bag, tie the bag shut – and then promptly throw the bag on the side of the path.

One man went all out not too long ago. He collected bags and bags of dog waste near the Rillito River walk – then threw them all in a pile under one of those signs that says it’s the law to clean up after your dog.

With that much time on his hands, he should have volunteered for a Tucson Clean and Beautiful project. Or at least thrown the dog doo in the trashcan, since the can already reeks.

In addition to the garbage can stench, two other smells around town seem to waft from the depths of hell.

The first is whatever sludge plant is churning out the stench that reaches a far south as Prince Road and Interstate 10.

The second is the mystery aroma that hits you in the face like a moldy, wet sponge the minute you get to the pinnacle of Veteran’s Memorial Highway overpass.

Not to leave you on a sour note, the litterbugs and dog doo man are offset by the more than 125 locations around town that have been adopted and cleaned up by the slew of volunteers.

If you want to learn more or volunteer yourself, check out TucsonCleanAndBeautiful.org or call 791-3109.


The mystery mattress/Ryn Gargulinski

The mysteriously appearing mattress/Ryn Gargulinski

What do you think?

Are you a litterbug? Do you yell at litterbugs when you see them littering?

What’s the worst example of littering you’ve seen?

How do you contribute to keeping Tucson clean and beautiful?