Members of the Filipino Canadian Association of Cochrane Alberta (FCACA) are once participating in the Alberta Highway Cleanup in a spirited effort to raise funds for both their community here and afar.

FCACA secretary Milo Prout says 20 volunteers will be picking up trash from more than 16 km of Hwy. 1A roadside on May 1. You'll see them on the highway from Heritage Gates to east of the Ghost Lake bridge.

She says it's not only a good community builder but an important fundraiser.

"It's very valuable, not only for our own Filipino community locally, but also abroad in the Philippines. Last year we were able to support three provinces during the typhoon."

They are hoping the event will not be cancelled because of COVID-19, and have carefully put in place measures to surpass the province's health guidelines.

Filipino cleanup crewThe FCACA crew from the 2020 highway cleanup. 

The crew has been split into eight teams cleaning assigned sections of the highway.  They will meet in different locations around 6:30 a.m., and Prout believes the cleanup will be completed by noon.

"Each team leader will be handing out orange vests, garbage bags, hand sanitizer, masks, and bottled water, and off they go."

With traffic travelling at high speed along that stretch of highway, visibility is important. The group will be wearing hi-vis safety vests, and the bags used are bright orange. They'll also be signage provided by Alberta Transportation to draw the attention of motorists.

The trash collected is left in bags on the roadside, then picked up later by Volker Stevin crews.

Due to COVID-19, last year's cleanup was postponed until the fall. So far, it's back to its regular timeline of the first Saturday of May. If the weather is poor that day, it will be held on the second Saturday of May.

FCACA is just one of many groups that participate in the annual cleanup in the Cochrane area. 

In 2019, over 700 volunteer organizations participated provincewide, totally more than 18,000 volunteers. They collected 53,000 bags of garbage while cleaning more than 13,000 kilometres of Alberta highways.

Despite the pandemic, the fall 2020 cleanup saw 11,986 volunteers clean approximately 9,000 km of road provincewide.