Volunteers needed to help ‘Pick Up Pennsylvania’ litter

Regional News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Officials are encouraging people to volunteer for a statewide campaign of fall litter cleanups that will benefit local streams, rivers and lakes.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that about 80 percent of marine debris originates as land trash. In an effort to reduce that percentage, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is encouraging everyone across the commonwealth to participate in “Pick Up Pennsylvania.”

“Pick Up Pennsylvania” runs until Nov. 30, and volunteer groups who participate in PennDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program are also encouraged to join the clean-up efforts.

To get started, residents around the state can register their own cleanup event on Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s website. There is no cost to create an event, and supplies such as trash bags and gloves will be provided. On the website, there is also an events calendar that will show you if there’s already a cleanup event scheduled near you.

Cleanups in any location are eligible, for example, on stream banks and shorelines, along roadsides, and in neighborhoods and parks, according to PennDOT and the DEP.

“We are so grateful to the volunteers and sponsors who help make Pick Up Pennsylvania a success,” Shannon Reiter, president of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, said. “Whether you’re cleaning up a local waterway, your local park, or the street you live on – it all makes a difference in reducing the amount of litter reaching our oceans. Picking up litter is something that almost everybody can do. It’s a great feeling, and the results are immediate. Please lend a hand and join us in a cleanup this fall.”

In this year alone, members of Penbrook Revitalization Inc. conducted five litter cleanups, removing about 1,000 pounds of trash from neighborhood locations like storm drains, which would’ve sent litter to the Susquehanna River and other local waters.

The DEP provides many ways Pennsylvanians can be anti-litter on their website. Additionally, PennDOT’s website lists additional litter cleanup volunteer opportunities like Adopt-A-Highway, Litter Brigades and more.

Due to the high costs of ongoing litter cleanups, the DEP, PennDOT and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful are working with stakeholders statewide to develop a littering action plan, which shifts efforts toward littering prevention.

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“Our waterways foster pride of place for many Pennsylvanians and shouldn’t be trashed,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said. “It’s important to make the connection between actions on the land and their impact on our waters. From community groups to co-workers, the volunteers who understand this connection and join in Pick Up Pennsylvania each fall do a world of good for all Pennsylvanians and the ecosystem we depend on.”

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