The Trash Brigade – Cleaning up Puerto Vallarta

by Marcia Blondin

1044817_654074477941751_287752824_nThis team of kids has grown from 17 to well over 40 youngsters who want a cleaner neighborhood and a trash-free river. They have met at Que?Pasa, Aquiles Serdan 625 in Colonia Emiliano Zapata, every Saturday morning at 11:30 since 2010 to make a positive difference in our city.  Michael, owner of Que?Pasa, has made garbage a big deal to these children; instilling in them a tremendous sense of respect for our earth that will last them a lifetime. They, in turn, pass down that ecologically sound message to their brothers and sisters and often, their parents. Michael makes sure all the kids have trash bags (in suitable sizes!), latex gloves and an adult to keep them safe on their tour around the neighborhood picking up rubbish.

When they return to Que?Pasa after their appointed rounds, Michael treats them to hotdogs, chips and sodas. The kids also have their own wall in the bar covered with photographs of them at task – smiling, knowing they are doing a good thing and will be rewarded when they are done.

If any of you parents out there are wondering what to do with your kids when they get out of school for summer break, encourage them to take part in this small beautification project every Saturday morning. If you aren´t up to actually joining them while they work, buy yourself a beer , have some lunch, play some pool and enjoy the ambiance of this local neighborhood bar until they are finished. Your children will be well chaperoned while you take a break; totally a win-win situation! Another good thing to do: donate garbage bags or gloves, make it a habit to buy extras when you are grocery shopping. Cash donations to keep the kids in hotdogs are always appreciated.

See all of you soon in Que?Pasa!


Madeline Milne on EmailMadeline Milne on Instagram
Living in Mexico full time since 2011, Madeline is a graphic designer, writer, iPhone photographer and road tripper.

One comment

  1. It is the adults – locals and likely visitors – that cause much of this debris , yet it is the children who are asked to clean up the mess. Where are all the adults without jobs? Would they work for free also? When I worked before and after school , weekends and summer school vacations beginning in the second grade, I always got paid. My parents did not give me an allowance that I can remember, but I always had money in my pockets to buy kites and kite string, glass marbles , comic books, and fishing tackle, softball bats and balls. Today in San Francisco, there are many adults, and school students during the summer school vacations, without jobs. Since the adults get unemployment insurance or welfare money from the government, they do not want to help in the cleanup of our beaches, parks or playgrounds. This is left to people with jobs who volunteer through their company employers , or school children volunteers. The city used to pay workers to do this cleanup work, but the city says it can no longer afford to pay for this service, and thus asks for volunteers. Why should children be subjected to the dangers of picking up garbage? Because adults will not volunteer to do this task? Put up signs that say discarding garbage is prohibited, and the fines are so much pesos. Then at least the children could be compensated with money to take home to their families.

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