ASHEBORO, NC - What began as a presentation in August to educate 5th-graders about water quality issues and litter prevention culminated on Oct. 7 with the removal of more than 46,000 pounds of litter and the prevention of more than 31,000 pounds of electronics from becoming litter in Randolph County as part of the state's annual NC Big Sweep cleanup campaign.

Nearly 2,000 volunteers conducted cleanups, at 29 sites, that included Electronics Recycling Day, Sept. 18, and the Community Cleanup Day, Sept. 25, according to Bob Langston, Big Sweep coordinator & educator at the North Carolina Zoo.

Volunteers this year included nearly 1,000 students from 10 Randolph County elementary schools and the Asheboro High School Zoo School, who participated in their individual schoolyard cleanup programs.

The cleanup campaign sprang from the International Coastal Cleanup, a movement started by the Ocean Conservancy in 1986 that ultimately gave birth to NC Big Sweep. Totals include cleanups conducted throughout the year.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary; Beverly Eaves Perdue, Governor.