Mayor Gregg Hull and local Waste Management have opened registration for their cleanup Rally in the Desert from 7-11 a.m. Sept. 16.

“Dumping in the desert is an illegal and unacceptable practice. As a community we should figure out ways to stop it,” Hull said.

Participants are asked to bring trucks, trailers, rakes and shovels to tackle some illegal dump sites and get the trash into the landfill.

“It is an opportunity to come together as a community and clean up the bad actions of other people,” Hull added.

He also said that day is American Cleanup Day anyway, so if people want to clean up the streets of Rio Rancho, too, it would be encouraged.

Previous efforts to clean up New Mexico haven’t gone unnoticed; however, trash buildup seems to rear its head on a yearly basis.

Rio Rancho’s past cleanup days have accumulated less and less trash each time.

For the year 2020, 60.18 tons of trash had been picked up. In 2021, it went down to 49.4 tons. Last year, it was significantly smaller at 16.21 tons.

Littering is scrutinized by law enforcement as well as health and sanitation codes.

“No person shall throw or deposit litter in or upon any street, sidewalk or other public place within the city except in public receptacles, in city-approved receptacles for collection or at a state-approved sanitary landfill,” the city Municipal Code reads.

Those who are caught littering can be fined up to $500 or imprisoned for a period of up to 90 days. The full Municipal Code can be found on the city’s website.

Hull expressed gratitude for people who consistently clean up trash in Rio Rancho.

Cash prizes, sponsored by Waste Management, go to the top three teams, and collection materials will be provided.

Those wishing to participate can call 505-896-8729 to register a team, which can be any number of people.