Twelve members of Jesuit High School's Environmental Club helped better the neighborhood community by participating in the Hillsborough River & Coastal Cleanup on Saturday (Sept. 21) just across Himes Ave. from campus at Al Lopez Park.
The cleanup was part of a major event, the International Coastal Cleanup, and was sponsored locally by Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful. Jesuit's Environmental Club participates in the Coastal Cleanup annually.
For three hours in the morning, they traversed the park to pick up trash and debris, logging and coordinating their efforts again this year on a data collection app called Clean Swell. They collected hundreds of cigarette butts, lots of plastic bags and plastic bottles as well as many pieces of plastic packaging from candy.
"The weather was beautiful and we are happy to report Al Lopez Park was in relatively good condition," club moderator Vindri Gajadhar said. "There was not as much litter to pick up as we have experienced in previous clean-ups along the waterways."
Saturday's cleanup participants as pictured in the photo above are, back row L-R - Anthony Aspiro '23, Vincent Girgenti '20, Jack Kirk '20, Daniel Marrero '20, Patrick Smith '22 (back), Zion Jacobs '21, Brayden Hanrahan '21, front row L-R -Gajadhar's daughter Nivet Gajadhar, Mauricio Perilla-Pena '23, Javon Boykins '23, Gajadhar, Nate Polite '21, Brenton Budhoo '21, and Koehler Runkle '21. Polite, Smith, Girgenti, and Marrero all participated in this same event last September, when the Environmental Club led a clean-up effort along the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
The Environmental Club typically participates in several clean-up events each year, including the post-Gasparilla Parade Cleanup in January and the Great American Cleanup in April.
"The students are eager to do another cleanup soon in a location that they believe needs more help," Gajadhar said.
The Environmental Club is a force on campus. It collects paper recycling in all school buildings every Friday, and this school year the club has ramped up Jesuit's green initiatives by taking over bottle and cans recycling. The new blue recycling bins are much more visible on campus, and water and bottle conservation efforts have been vastly upgraded with the campus' abundant new filtered water refilling stations.
Please view below a photo slideshow below from the Environmental Club's clean-up effort Saturday at Al Lopez Park.