Love Where You Live Campaign sparks Surrey’s community engagement

The campaign has had more participants during the pandemic than the previous years

Volunteers from the Love Where You Live Campaign (Submitted)

The Love Where You Live Campaign motivates Surrey residents to get involved in their communities by participating in garbage clean-up events.

The City of Surrey launched the campaign on Earth Day, April 22, and it will run until the end of September. The campaign includes events like the 20-Minute Challenge, Neighbourhood Clean-up, and Park Clean Ups.

The 20-Minutes Challenge calls out “Surrey residents to clean up for at least 20 minutes every week in their neighbourhoods,” reads their corporate report. The Neighbourhood Clean-up challenge asks people to form groups and clean up the area where they all live. The Park Clean Ups are considered “pop-up” clean-ups because members can arrive at parks like Bear Creek and other highly used parks after busy days.

“Last year’s Love Where you Live Initiative had 134 people sign up for the 20-Minute Challenge, and 75 neighbourhood cleanups took place. This year the program already has  128 volunteers signed up for the 20-Minute Challenge,” wrote Yalda Asadian, City of Surrey community enhancement manager, in an email to The Runner.

This is really encouraging, according to Asadian, who wrote that considering the campaign began on April 22, so far it has had four neighbourhood clean-ups.

“By the end of the campaign we expect to reach a similar number of neighbourhood clean ups,” Asadian wrote.

However, that’s not all. When it comes to greener initiatives, Surrey ranks on top. The city was recently named Canada’s Greenest Employers for a second year in a row.

The award evaluated the city’s environmental initiatives and programs “success in reducing their environmental footprint; the degree to which employees are involved in their programs; and the extent to which these initiatives have become linked to the organization’s identity,” according to a press release.

The pandemic did not stop the City of Surrey green initiatives in 2020. The city collected “more than 75,000 metric tonnes of organic waste through its waste collection programs and services, [took] significant steps to pass a proposed Plastic Bags and Single-Use Items Bylaw to reduce and eliminate the negative impacts of single use items in Surrey.”

The campaign began in 2019, and unlike its previous years, Asadian wrote that “the city saw increased participation in the campaign during the COVID-19 restrictions.”

This is because LWYL has provided opportunities for people to show that they care for the community in a safe and distant way, wrote Asadian. And because people are spending more time in their neighbourhoods and outside, possibly paying more attention to local litter issues.

“The general litter you see on the street is from the public throwing things out of cars or dropped by people walking down sidewalks. The piles of illegal dumping you see primarily comes from renovations or from people being evicted or moving,” wrote Asadian.

Before the LWYL campaign, the city had programs like Park Clean Up events, Adopt a Street, and Clean Sweep. However, Asadian wrote that LWYL expanded on these initiatives and made it easier for people to get involved.

The idea of the campaign isn’t only for garbage pick-ups. As stated in their corporate report, the city hopes to promote storytelling and profile positive activities that residents do through this initiative. They hope to educate the residents to keep Surrey clean and showcase the work the City of Surrey does to stay clean.

“We have seen an increased number of people involved in helping to keep Surrey clean and beautiful as a result.”