earth day

The coronavirus pandemic postponed or canceled many annual Earth Day events this year, but there are other ways that we can continue to take care of our planet.

One easy project that you can complete while maintaining social distance is by taking a walk and collecting litter along the way.

We recommend planning your pickup in conjunction with your regularly scheduled trash pickup day.

Here are a few tips to keep you safe while picking up litter in the community:

— Be aware of private property and get permission from landowners before going on their land.

— Roadside litter can be dangerous. Do not open coolers, jugs, bottles and other sealed containers.

— Make sure you wear thick gloves, appropriate clothing and safety gear.

— Report any suspicious or dangerous items to police immediately.

Another great spot to check out while on your walk is your storm drain. Litter and other debris can get caught in the drain, causing flooding and erosion. Heavy spring downpours can quickly back up blocked drains, so it is best to check on them frequently.

Trash and other pollutants also can wash down the drain and cause clogs and contamination further down the pipeline, making litter pickup even more important.

We all live downstream, so let’s keep it clean!

Taking a little time out of your day to help collect some trash seems small, but if all of us chip in and help, just think of all the litter we’ll be able to pick up. By doing our part to take care of the environment, we can make a lasting impact that will benefit generations for years to come.

More volunteer options

Here are some volunteer opportunities in Lancaster County:

• The LG Health Blood Donor Center has an urgent need for all blood types, especially O negative. Help them maintain their blood and platelet supply during this critical time. Their Donor Center has implemented additional precautions to ensure the safety of donors and staff. They are asking healthy people to consider scheduling an appointment to donate at the Blood Donation Center at the Suburban Pavilion: bit.ly/2QqymNw. Appointments are currently scheduling about a week in advance.

There are also community blood drives coming up across Lancaster County. You can find those by searching your ZIP code at RedCrossBlood.org.

If you are an agency in need of volunteers or a volunteer searching for someplace to help, visit United Way's Get Connected website to find where you can get involved.