More than 14,000 Arkansas residents volunteered in local activities across the state in 2016 to help make their communities clean and green by picking up more than 2.3 million pounds of litter, bulky waste and used tires to enhance environmental health and beauty.

Combined there were 77,848 hours volunteered on the projects.

Twice each year, the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) coordinates and promotes statewide community cleanups and litter pickups: the spring Great American Cleanup™ in Arkansas and the fall Great Arkansas Cleanup. The Great American Cleanup is a national program of Keep America Beautiful Inc. and is supported in Arkansas by KAB.

All Arkansas communities were encouraged to organize cleanup teams of local volunteers to remove litter, collect recyclable items and enhance civic pride. Volunteers picked up litter from more than 2,500 miles of roadway and waterway; 17,400 acres of parks and public areas were cleaned up; and more than 4,000 trees, shrubs and flowers were planted during 304 local cleanup events statewide. Cleanup volunteers were supplied with Glad trash bags, gloves and safety vests.

“We are especially proud of those who take pride in Arkansas by participating in local cleanup events,” said Robert Phelps, executive director of KAB. “These initiatives not only create cleaner Arkansas communities but they also increase personal accountability for our state’s cleanliness and beauty while teaching and encouraging positive behavior among younger generations.”

The Great American Cleanup begins each year in March and concludes at the end of May. The Great Arkansas Cleanup begins in September and continues through October.

The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), consisting of a professional staff and a nine-member advisory board appointed by the governor, is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

As a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc., KAB inspires and educates individuals to reduce litter, recycle and keep Arkansas beautiful. KAB is funded through its 1 percent portion of the eighth-cent Conservation Tax and, by mobilizing volunteers, returns to the state a cost benefit of more than $6 in community service for each program dollar spent. For more information, visit KeepArkansasBeautiful.com or stay connected on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram and YouTube.

Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s premier community improvement organization. Founded in 1953, the nonprofit has a network of affiliates around the U.S. focused on litter prevention, waste reduction and beautification. Keep America Beautiful is recognized as the leader in changing attitudes and behaviors affecting our community environments. Through its actions, Keep America Beautiful helps create communities that are socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound. Today, it continues to be the most credible organization in its three focus areas by vigorously pursuing its guiding principles of education, volunteerism, partnership and individual responsibility. For more information, visit kab.org.