In celebration of World Environment Day on June 5, Friends of Animals’ Wildlife Law Program hosted its first annual park cleanup on June 8 at Vanderbilt Park in Denver.

Staff and volunteers worked hard to make the environment safer and healthier for humans and wildlife. In about 3 1/2  hours, they collected 367 lbs or 335 gallons of debris, which amounted to three truckloads! Alongside single-use plastic bottles, plastic wrappers, candy wrappers and styrofoam packaging were heavy odd items like bundled rusty wire fencing.

The truth is, everyone should take the opportunity to help the environment become healthier everyday, not just World Environment Day. One simple way is to kick plastics to the curb.

And next month is “Plastic Free July.” Want some tips to find out how you can reduce plastic waste? The good news is, anyone can get involved. You can start out small, or really challenge yourself. Get inspired at

More than 400 million tons of plastics are produced globally each year, and shockingly, 33% of this waste ends up in soils and fresh waterways and is harmful to wildlife.

In Denver, the accumulation of plastic pollution and human-caused debris is an ongoing issue in public parks—harming biodiversity, ecosystems and public health. It continues to enter our ponds, lakes and rivers, contaminating groundwater.

At parks located along highways like Vanderbilt, trash piles up rapidly.

By taking action to remove litter from our parks, we can prevent harm to wildlife, foster more robust ecosystems, support native plant growth and pollinator populations, improve habitat, mitigate the climate crisis, improve water and air quality and enhance public health.