PHARR, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The city of Pharr takes part in a multitude of beautification efforts all year long, but the city reports the Great American Cleanup is its largest improvement program.

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Crystal Medina, Environmental Services Supervisor for the city’s Public Works Department said this is a program they have been participating in for at least seven to eight years.

Medina added the event is something the city looks forward to every year as it symbolizes a “milestone” to do more.

‘It’s just something we strive for, always have, just to be better. Our main focus now is definitely to have… well, it’s to be the cleanest city in the Rio Grande Valley and we kinda pride ourselves in that,” stated Medina.

Under former Governor Rick Perry’s administration in 2013, Pharr was recognized for their environmental efforts, so they’re hoping to get that same recognition again.

Medina is also hoping to not only tackle the trash in neighborhoods and parks but to rid drainage canals of it as well.

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According to Medina, there has been a build-up of debris and illegal dumping in the community from sofas and mattresses to tires.

By clearing out storm drains, Media said it’ll not only look nicer, but it’ll allow for a better flow of water.

“It’s very rewarding at the end once you see that difference that you’ve made, even if it’s just a few streets in your neighborhood, one piece of trash that you pick up could have potentially ended up in our stormwater systems,” said Medina.

To incentivize groups of 10 or less, the city will provide trash bags, gloves, hand sanitizer, litter pickers, and vests. Medina only asks that vests and litter pickers be brought back to the Public Works Department. Everything else can be disposed of.

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The project will begin on April 8 and run through May 31.

The city of McAllen will also be participating in the nationwide clean-up, but Medina told ValleyCentral it is not a competition between neighboring cities to see who can pick up the most garbage. She said it is more of a support system to keep the entire region clean.

Medina added the city also plans to host other environmental events this year including one for Earth Day and a “Monarch event” in which students will submit artwork and those who join will receive a native plant as a thank you.

For more information, contact the Pharr Public Works Department at (956) 402-4350.