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4-H highway clean-up on the weekend

Brandon Logan, Special to the Herald-Leader

The 26th Annual 4-H Highway Clean-Up Campaign is set to launch May 26, with a rain date of June 2.

Parents and volunteers will accompany the 4-H members, whose ages range from 8-21.

"The parents and volunteers will be overlooking the cleanup and keeping the kids safe," said Administrative Assistant of the Manitoba 4-H Council (M4HC), Dawn Krinke. "With cars speeding by on a regular basis, it is vital to keep everyone safe."

The kids will be dressed in bright vests to make them visible to cars passing by. While they clean up the ditches, the group leaders will be on the side of the highway

This year 44 clubs are set to take part in the clean up, which is an increase from 2011. Last year, close to 750 members took part in this initiative, cleaning 492 km of highway and filling just over 2,000 garbage bags - this despite the flooding in the area.

"The kids are always surprised when they see what is thrown out of the windows from passing cars," said Krinke. "And the amount of litter they find is shocking to them. Until you actually go down in that ditch, you don't realize how much of a problem this is."

Last year the campaign raised more than $13,000 for 4-H clubs in Manitoba. Most of the money received was from Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation (MIT), who pay $20 for every kilometer of roadside that is cleaned. In addition, they also give $5/km if the clubs take the refuse to a local landfill and another $5/km if cleaning is done within three kilometers of a community with a population of at least 1,000.

With the incentive of cleaning up the environment, raising awareness and bringing in money in to 4-H clubs, it is easy to see why the campaign has been an annual staple throughout the province.

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