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Nipissing University students pitch in to clean their city streets of litter

As the colder months approach, Clean, Green Beautiful North Bay is hosting the city's biggest community-wide litter pick-up this weekend.

As part of this initiative, a group of Nipissing University students are taking a break from their studies to lend a hand.

Picking up litter to keep the city clean along Cartier Street and Oakdale Road, fourth-year criminal justice students Harikesh Panchal and Preston English are cleaning up their neighborhood one piece of trash at a time.

"Students who live in this area want to give back any way we can,” said Panchal.

“Every little piece of garbage and recycling is going to the right place."

As part of the community-wide cleanup, organized by the beatification group, waste bags are distributed to those who want to pick them up. Last year, 5,000 litter bags were used. As of Saturday, only 3,200 have been delivered or picked up for this year’s event.

"We have the next generation that's going to take up the charge and help us become a more resilient community,” said Clean, Green, Beautiful North Bay chairperson Hariett Madigan.

“Giving out less bags is not a bad thing. It tells us we’ve changed the culture.”

The students will be back out Sunday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. cleaning the rest of the Thibeault Terrace neighbourhood. The students will meet at Belleview Park, off McGibbon Street, where gloves and garbage bags will be provided.

"North Bay is such a beautiful city and it's always nice for us to give back towards our beautiful town," said English.

Still, volunteers are finding the most common kind of litter being found on the ground and that is picked up is single-use plastics that aren't being recycled properly.

"We've been seeing lots of cups for coffee, lids and plastic containers,” said Panchal.

Community clean-up volunteers told CTV News that the most common kind of litter being found on the ground is single-use plastics. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)Two-thirds of what's tossed on the ground is made of recyclable material.

"90 per cent of what's plastic is not being recycled. We've really seen a huge change,” said Madigan.

“The next thing we want to see is people reducing, reusing and repurposing.”

Organizers said showing people that one less piece of trash can make a neighbourhood cleaner and more than one more person picking it up makes the world a better place is its own reward.

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