NORTH BAY -- class="Default"> A North Bay neighbourhood beautification group, ‘Clean, Green Beautiful North Bay’ launched its neighbourhood clean-up challenge during Earth Week.

Building on the group’s success of removing over 3,000 bags full of litter in its first year, this year’s clean-up challenge is poised to break the record of bags of trash collected.

Hariett Madigan, the chair of the group, and her team spent the morning cleaning up a pocket of litter along Frost Street. It’s a common area where trash is usually left behind.

“When you’re near the main arteries or highways, that’s where people feel they have the freedom to throw litter out their car windows,” said Madigan.

Clean, Green Beautiful North Bay’s neighbourhood clean-up challenge kicked off Thursday and runs until Sunday. But, the organization is calling on the public to register as a volunteer and clean up their yard and nearby areas of disposed litter until November.

“There’s so much plastic that makes its way into the ocean and it corrodes our planet,” said volunteer Yannick Madigan.

“It’s horrible to see that this is what we’re inheriting and what our parents and grandparents left us.”

The idea behind the clean-up challenge is to also educate people who do decide to litter.

“What you’re trying to do is achieve a better surrounding,” said volunteer Ralph Celentano.

“Clean begets clean. If they don’t see debris, the likelihood of them tossing is minimized.”

The neighbourhood clean-up challenge is in its third year. Last year, 7,500 bags full of trash were collected and disposed of properly throughout the whole summer.

“This year 6,000 bags have been delivered and we haven’t even hit May yet,” said Madigan.

“Over 300 locations have been adopted. It has just been a phenomenal response. We have a good shot at being litter free.”

The organization plans to enter the city in the 2022 Communities In Bloom competition which judges municipalities provincially, and nationally based on a number of criteria, including community appearance, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape, and floral displays and environmental action.

“I’m looking for a day and hoping for a day when we won’t have to give out those bags,” said Madigan.

“It starts with one person who wants to make a difference. I’m very hopeful we will win that contest.”

Madigan credits local businesses for stepping up to the plate to support the initiative as well as everyone involved in keeping North Bay a healthy place to live.