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In observance of Earth Day, community members from Englewood, Littleton and beyond joined together April 23 to clean up trash and debris in Centennial Park and its lake. 

The event, sponsored by South Platte Renew, Colorado’s third-largest water treatment plant, saw over 100 people register, according to South Platte Renew spokesperson Erin Bartlet. 

The treatment plant, located in Englewood and run by the cities of Englewood and Littleton, set a goal of filling 250 bags worth of trash. 

“Our public space, and the South Platte River especially, is a really important natural resource for the community,” said Ben Wise, an environmental scientist with South Platte Renew. “It’s really important to come out here and pick up some trash and help preserve that resource.” 

Since South Platte Renew began sponsoring clean-ups four years ago,  Wise said community members have become more educated and aware of litter in public spaces and waterways. 

“We did a river cleanup just with plant staff closer to where we discharge into the South Platte River and as we were walking along a lot of us commented on how much cleaner it was this year compared to others,” he said. “It’s definitely getting cleaner.” 

And being such a precious natural resource in Colorado, water is vital to preserve and maintain, Wise said. 

“(Water’s) so finite that we need to make it as clean as possible,” Wise said. “If people can be on the water and enjoy it then they gain a better appreciation for that natural resource.”