Published June 19, 2019
SAN JUAN CHAPTER, N.M. — Navajo Transitional Energy Company and North American Coal Bisti Fuels teamed up to clean a portion of Navajo Route 36 from Highway 491 to San Juan Chapter during the week of June 20.
“Our community teams are leading the charge to clean up an area that is traveled by residents, Navajo Mine workers and tourists. Cleaning the roadside is one way we show our appreciation to the community for being excellent neighbors of Navajo Mine,” said NTEC CEO Clark Moseley.
NTEC hired college students for the task. Through four days, nearly 20 college students picked up 90 cubic yards, the size of three 30-yard dumpsters, of trash in a six-mile span. Most of the trash consisted of glass bottles. In addition, nearly 80 tires were picked up in the same stretch of highway.
“We are really happy to be helping out the community by picking up trash. We’re thankful to all the students who have helped us through the week,” said Cortasha Upshaw, NTEC Community Affairs Coordinator.
The crew started their days at 7 a.m. by meeting at the chapter house, then worked until noon each day.
“We have to be cautious of the heat this time of year. We end the day early to avoid any complications directed from the heat,” Upshaw said.
The Navajo Nation Police Department ensured the students safety on the roadsides. They had police units parked with flashing lights to warn drivers to slow down.
“The officers were a great help in controlling the speed of traffic,” Upshaw added.
Aside from bottles and tires, students found some unique items that was discarded on the roadside.
“The interesting things I found was an old cell phone and pair of car keys,” said Tsaa Henderson, 22.
Henderson said he enjoys helping the community and more can be done.
“I do this because I do feel like we need to do more for our community. From every angle we can from picking up trash, to providing lunch for our children and our elderly,” he said.
Leonardo LaMarr, 18, a student at New Mexico State University, said picking up trash is work.
“It was a lot of work. I’m glad it’s over,” he said with a smile.