To address the problem of litter in his district, Councilman Peter Koo hosted a volunteer cleanup day in Flushing last Friday.
A little more than a dozen teens gathered to take part in the clean up, using simple tools including straw brooms, dust pans and gardening gloves to clean Prince Street.
Wayne Lam, a 16-year-old volunteer with Koo’s office who lives in Ridgewood, said he volunteered for the project because “it’s really a good experience.”
“Flushing has a lot of garbage everywhere, and I want to keep [the neighborhood] clean,” Lam said.
Koo hoped that the effort would draw the attention of the thousands of commuters who use the streets of Flushing as a dumping ground.
“When you dump garbage out into the streets, you affect everybody,” he said. “It’s a public health issue.”
Beyond health concerns, Koo said that the trash problem is creating image issues for Flushing, and making it less desirable as a destination for business, shopping and nightlife.
While Manhattan receives the five-star treatment from the Department of Sanitation, Koo said he feels his district is getting the shaft.
“Actually, we pay more taxes than Manhattan in Flushing,” he said. “We provide the city with much more revenue than other places. Proportionately we need more resources.”
Koo said that while the effort made by his small team of volunteers was just a drop in the bucket compared to the cleanup needs of the neighborhood, he hopes it will set a good example and inspire others to do their part.
“Of course, we cannot in one day clean up Flushing,” Koo said. “Its cleanliness depends on everyone,” Koo said.