Who’s Cleaning the National Parks During the Government Shutdown? | NowThis

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This Muslim youth group is helping clean up national parks, which have suffered unprecedented trash buildup because of the government shutdown.
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This Muslim youth group is helping to clean up national parks while the federal government is shutdown.

Salaam Bhatti, National Spokesperson Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, USA: 'Within 48 hours, we rallied over 70 of our own Muslim youth, as well as non-Muslim volunteers to go out to Joshua Tree in California, Cuyahoga in Cleveland Ohio. We had more volunteers in the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in the Everglades, and as well as Independence Hall in Philadelphia.'

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) is one of many groups volunteering its time to clean up the buildup of trash in national parks

Salaam Bhatti: 'So with generous funding from a charity known as Humanity First USA, we were able to get the trash bags and the gloves and all the resources needed to So with generous funding from a charity known as Humanity First USA, we were able to get the trash bags and the gloves and all the resources needed to make sure we had enough resources for ourselves and for the other volunteers who came out and so we simply went out in trucks and cars went ran into the parks and just got to work.

Much of the staff that keeps nat’l parks running have been furloughed because of the partial gov’t shutdown that started Dec 22, 2018, resulting in damage to the parks. Along with a buildup of trash in parks, there’s also inadequate access to clean bathrooms and road closures because there’s no one to plow snow

Salaam Bhatti: 'Thankfully there were other groups who have been cleaning up the trash throughout the weeks. Yet at the same time, people continue to visit and so the trash keeps flowing and unfortunately, people keep littering. So, we've found plenty of trash overflowing in the trash cans but also unfortunately, plenty of litter on the and the brush, some in the reflecting pool on the National Mall, and just you know cigarette butts lying around.'

Despite their current state, many parks remain open

In an effort to keep the parks running and improve their condition, the National Park Service (NPS), an agency within the U.S. Dept of the Interior, said on Jan 6 that it will start using visitor fees to keep parks running. Such funds are generally used for future projects in parks and not basic maintenance. Some Democrats criticized the move, saying NPS’ decision likely violates appropriations law and that parks should be closed during gov’t shutdowns, as was protocol during the Clinton and Obama administrations

#Muslim #MuslimAmerican #GovernmentShutdown #NationalParks

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