Manhasset turned out for the Earth Day cleanup this year. (Photo by Joe Morreale)

Manhasset Chamber Acts Locally For A Global Cause

By Joe Morreale
The Manhasset Chamber of Commerce hosted an Earth Day community cleanup event in collaboration with the Town of North Hempstead in Mary Jane Davies Green Park on Monday April 22. The Manhasset community came together to clean up litter, weeds, and debris from the sidewalks. Earth Day is celebrated around the world every April 22 since 1970, when Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin designated it as an annual day to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Today, it is the largest secular day of protest in the world according to
“On a local level I think it [Earth Day] is a good reminder that the Earth is ours to take care of and give to the next generation,” said Fran Lisner, chamber committee member. “It’s a reminder that we should be doing this every day. We’re leaving our legacy for those who come after us.”
Manhasset joined The Great Global Cleanup, an initiative started by to combat plastic pollution. Earth Day’s official theme this year is Planet vs. Plastics, which calls for widespread awareness of the health risks of plastics. By 2040, has a goal of reducing plastic production by 60 percent worldwide. Local communities cleaning up their streets is a starting point toward that global revolution.
“The famous expression, ‘think globally, act locally’ pretty much sums up how I feel. Act locally and everything else will follow,” said TJ Costello, chamber committee member.
Monday’s group of Manhasset locals spread out across Plandome Rd with gloves, brooms, and trash bags in hand. The chamber gave each volunteer a T-shirt printed by the Town of North Hempstead Community Services staff, donning the slogan, ‘Be the Change.’ Most of the volunteers had a personal connection to the Manhasset community, and showed up with the belief that local community cleanups can amplify into a larger global cleanup over time.
Plandome Troop 71 from the Boy Scouts of America joined the cleanup crew on Monday. Earth Day’s mission of a global cleanup aligns well with the scout code.
“Community service is part of every rank in scouts,” said George Venetoklis, Troop 71 scoutmaster. “We’re supposed to be service-minded, ‘leave-no-trace-minded’, so we try to keep the parks clean whenever we camp out. This is right in our wheelhouse.”
The cleanup effort was also in chamber member Jan Arkwright’s wheelhouse. Arkwright is the proud owner of Before & After Organizing by Jan LLC in Manhasset. Arkwright cares about the town’s appearance even despite her business not having a storefront in town.
“It bothers me that people don’t throw things out. I’m very big into recycling. I am by profession, a professional organizer, so my job is to help people declutter and organize, but also to help them to declutter sustainably,” said Arkwright.
Arkwright joined the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce as a way to stay active in the community and meet her neighbors.
“I’m from Brooklyn, and when I came out to Manhasset, I felt like it was so clean. But over time people care less,” said Arkwright. “What does it take to not put it in the garbage pail? Or stick it in your pocket and bring it home? If everybody just thought a little bit more about ‘when I have kids, what kind of world am I leaving behind?’”
TJ Costello, chamber committee member and founder of Hierarchy Architecture + Design, PLLC on Plandome Rd and Gaynor Ave, shares Arkwright’s sentiment for cleaning up the local community in a hands-on style.
“Globally we all have to do our part, right?” said Costello.
The most found litter along Plandome Rd on Monday afternoon was cigarettes. A 2020 national litter study conducted by Keep America Beautiful counted cigarette butts to be the most common category of litter found in the United States, making up 19.6 percent of all litter. The study found over five billion cigarette butts along roadways, including in Manhasset.
“I want a word with the cigarette smokers. I’ve picked up at least a hundred cigarette butts, maybe 150,” said Costello.
“Smokers are polluting four times. You’re polluting the Earth when you smoke, you’re polluting your lungs, you’re polluting your neighbors’ lungs with second-hand smoke, and now you’re polluting the sidewalk,” said Costello.

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