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Volunteers remove 40 tons of trash during Summerlin Desert Cleanup

More than 100 resident volunteers, dozens of professional contractors and executives from The Howard Hughes Corp., developer of Summerlin, removed 40 tons of landscape waste, construction spoils and trash May 1 along the western edge of development in Summerlin West. The majority of resident volunteers are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This is the second desert cleanup event in less than a year. In October 2009, more than 325 tons of trash was removed from 200-acres of public and private land Summerlin South.

“Desert dumping is a major problem threatening the overall health and beauty of the entire Las Vegas Valley — no area is exempt,” said Tom Warden, senior vice president of community and government relations for The Howard Hughes Corp. “As responsible citizens and wise stewards of the environment, we can all do more to help eradicate illegal dumping in our valley.”

The Howard Hughes Corp. is working with various government organizations to create an ongoing stewardship program to prevent future dumping in the area through increased signage, more robust enforcement, partnerships with nearby residents and increased rewards for reporting illegal dumpers.

“The more people we involve in this effort, the better,” Warden said. “There is strength in numbers.”

The local professional contractors that dedicated time and equipment for the cleanup include Valley Crest Landscape Maintenance, The Groundskeeper, Par 3 Landscape & Maintenance, TruGreen LandCare and Panacea Services. Republic Services donated several large trash dumpsters. Representatives from Friends of Red Rock Canyon and Keep Las Vegas Beautiful provided logistical support. And city of Las Vegas Councilman Steve Wolfson was onsite to address volunteers.

“We credit the success of this cleanup to the many corporations, organizations and individuals who graciously donated their time and energy to help with this cleanup, including our friends from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Warden said. “The church’s number of volunteers and caliber of work was impressive.”

According to Rick Phillips, bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and volunteer at the Summerlin Desert Cleanup, this event is one of many service opportunities promoted by church leaders. “We believe it’s important to be active and serve in our communities,” he said.

The Howard Hughes Corp. currently plans to coordinate two desert cleanup events annually each spring and fall. “It’s important to us, as land owners, to protect and preserve our desert home,” Warden said.

For more information on dumping, visit southernnevadahealthdistrict.org. To report illegal dumping, call 759-0600. The day, time and license plate number is required to report an incident, and a photograph helps but is not necessary. A reward program is currently in place for reports that result in a fine. Fines start at $1,800.

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