NIAGARA FALLS – Watch out for the “CleanMob.” It’s coming for you.
Especially if you’re an empty pop bottle, a scrap of candy wrapper or some other article of trash lying on the ground.
Word spreads like wildfire on social media, and in the end, one small corner of the world is spick-and-span.
For Tom Lowe and Lana Perlman, the chairman and vice chairwoman, respectively, of the Niagara Beautification Commission, garbage is the enemy.
“I have a passion against litter,” Perlman said.
So they’ve initiated what they’re calling a “CleanMob,” in the same vein as a flash mob, but with participants getting down and dirty to help spiff up their communities.
What seems to be most appealing to people is the limited time element involved, Lowe said.
“We’re only expecting you to come out for an hour,” he said.
Sometimes the job slants heavily toward litter pickup; other times it might involve more landscaping or clearing a site of overgrown grass and brush.
After 60 minutes, when that whistle blows, the volunteers disperse.
As of early last week, four CleanMobs had taken place so far: at the intersection of Hyde Park Boulevard, College Avenue and Witmer Road; the north end of Main Street near the Family Dollar; the site of the Old Stone Chimney; and near Markethouse Steaks & Spirits on Pine Avenue.
The idea for the events grew out of a deep need that exists in Niagara Falls and other cities.
There’s the annual Beautify Niagara cleanup, but Lowe and Perlman wanted to see more done.
The CleanMob is starting to grow another element, too, which Lowe said might end up becoming an official part of the events: Afterwards, the volunteers can select a local business, like a restaurant or bar, to visit and support.
One of the underlying goals for the CleanMob is to encourage people to clean up their own homes or businesses, to maybe make that light bulb go off for someone else, Perlman said.
Rob Brawn, owner of Custom Bench on Pine Avenue, has been a regular contributor at the Niagara Falls CleanMobs so far.
For Brawn, it’s all about being an example for others and trying to “set the path for people to want to do it.”
“We’re trying to turn the page and get this area moving in the right direction,” Brawn said.
As for what place to clean up next, Lowe and Perlman take suggestions at the CleanMob Facebook page, www.facebook.com/nfcleanmob.
And the Niagara Beautification Commission is always looking for new members. For more information, call 285-5030. The commission’s Facebook page is www.facebook.com/niagarabeautification. Its website is niagarabeautification.org.
Once there’s enough followers on Facebook, Lowe believes people will be able to start calling their own CleanMobs.
Ideally, Lowe sees a CleanMob happening every other week. There’s always going to be someplace that needs at least a little cleanup, Lowe said.
“We go where the garbage takes us,” he said.