ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Matt Apple started Walking for Rochester last year and despite the roadblock of a pandemic, they are still walking strong.
Apple says their mission statement is: “Our goal is to organize businesses and communities to pay more attention to the litter and to get more involved in their community from an environmental impact perspective.”
On a organized group walk on Park Avenue, Apple discussed how litter as a problem is often overlooked — especially for an issue that he says is classless — and that it has a significant ripple effect.
“The thing is with litter, when no one picks it up, it goes in the sewers, it goes in our waterways, and that negatively affects our city,” Apple said.
“What does a litter free community mean to you? It’s the health of your family and loved ones,” he pontificated. “Every time you go outside, you’re at risk of running into glass, or needles, or something that is hazardous.”
Apple knew he wanted to find some way to help clean up litter in Rochester, but found that there wasn’t a very convenient way to do it. He realized that making waste management manageable was the way to do it.
So outside of their group walks — for which they provide all of the supplies — they created an app. It’s available on the Google Play and App Store. After entering in some basic information, you can use the GPS tagging system to track where you cleaned up.
You can also flag areas that have more hazardous waste that can be handled by city employees.
Apple is also looking big picture. He’s not just mobilizing individuals, but businesses too. Drew Nye from ROAM Cafe on Park Ave sponsored the day’s events.
“He’s so passionate, how do you say no to go a guy like that?” Nye asked. “Anything we can do to encourage other businesses to step up a little bit too. When someone is taking the initiative to do it, and we can reward them in any way, it’s something I’m trying to encourage.”
Walking for Rochester aims to be the opposite of litter, showing that small changes build over time, and make Rochester cleaner, and happier.
“Walking for Rochester is about changing the mindset of some of the people who live here,” he said. “The point of this is whether you can spend 15 minutes a week or more helping us, that’s really what it’s all about.”