PALMDALE – About 50 volunteers braved the hot sun Saturday to remove everything from carpets, mattresses and tires to books, dolls, and shoes that were scattered across the desert.
“We’re just trying to clean up the illegal dumping because there’s a lot of it,” said Richard Kite, Planning Manager for the City of Palmdale.
The community cleanup day was hosted by the city’s Code Enforcement Department as part of National Make a Difference Day. The group, armed with plastic bags, gloves, shovels, and a front loader tractor, took to the desert near 70th Street East and Avenue S, in the vicinity of William J. (Pete) Knight High School.
“This is one of the areas where we have a huge amount of illegal dumping,” said Trish Jones of the City of Palmdale. “Hopefully we can make a dent in this area.”
Jones said several students took part in the cleanup effort to fulfill community service hours for school and scholarship programs. Daniel Arziga was cleaning up to fulfill his service hours for JROTC at William J. (Pete) Knight High School, but he was also there for another reason.
“I’m on the cross country team and we run through here and there’s a lot of things that get in our way,” Arziga said. “Someone’s got to clean it.”
The cleanup effort was a family affair for the Hernandez’ – Gilbert, wife Jenny and son Eric.
“We’re here to support my son because he is in JROTC and it’s part of his community service program,” said Gilbert Hernandez. “It’s good for the environment and it’s also good just to be out here with my family and doing something with my son.”
In just two hours, the Hernandez family had picked up 12 bags of trash between them.
California Assemblyman Steve Knight also did his part to help in the cleanup effort.
“It’s a neat thing to do for the Antelope Valley,” said Knight. “When we’re done it looks very nice, and the desert should look nice.”