Durham County nonprofits remove graffiti, have picked up over 25 tons of litter this year


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — As summer approaches in Durham County, more people are out and about. And with that can come a greater challenge to keep the streets clean.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for people to learn what they can do to make a difference,” Keep Durham Beautiful Executive Director Tania Dautlick said. “Every action that people take makes a difference, no matter how small.”

The nonprofit Keep Durham Beautiful reports a record increase in the number of volunteers willing to clean up litter.

Dautlick said almost 3,000 people have signed up to work just this year.

“They are noticing the trash out in their communities I think as people have, over the past year, come out of hibernation during the pandemic and spending more time at home,” she said.

Throughout Durham County, they’ve picked up about 50,000 pounds of litter so far this year.

Meanwhile in the city’s downtown district, a 10-person ambassador team patrols the streets seven days a week, taking in loose trash and even cleaning up graffiti.

“If it’s a beautiful, sunny day or even a beautiful night that we’re seeing now that it’s springtime, then we may see more graffiti,” Kenny Valenzuela, Downtown Durham Inc.’s Director of Clean and Safe, said.

Valenzuela said when people see graffiti in downtown Durham, it can typically be small writing or stickers.

From December through February, those ambassadors with Downtown Durham Inc. removed 240 forms of graffiti and collected over 25,000 trash bags.

“Maintaining a clean and safe downtown is a good foundation for a growing downtown area like Durham,” Valenzuela said.

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