Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Transportation (PennDOT) encourage Pennsylvanians to volunteer for “Pick Up Pennsylvania,” a statewide campaign of fall litter cleanups to benefit streams, rivers, and lakes, now through November 30.
Volunteer groups who participate in the PennDOT Adopt-A-Highway program are also encouraged to participate.
“Our waterways foster pride of place for many Pennsylvanians and shouldn’t be trashed,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “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.”
“These volunteer cleanup efforts are so important,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Volunteers are the very heart of our Adopt-A-Highway program, saving millions of taxpayer dollars each year.”
Secretary McDonnell and Secretary Gramian spoke at an event with Penbrook Borough community leaders and representatives from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful before joining in a litter cleanup that started at Penbrook Community Park.
Pick Up Pennsylvania is coordinated by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and sponsored by DEP, PennDOT, and the Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Zone Cleanup. This support supplies registered events with free trash bags and gloves.
Residents around the state can use this Events Calendar to join registered cleanup events in their community. Those who’d like to register their own local cleanup event can do so at Organize an Event.
Individuals, families, neighbors, students, civic organizations and local governments are all invited to participate. Cleanups in any location are eligible, for example, on stream banks and shorelines, along roadsides, and in neighborhoods and parks.
“We are so grateful to the volunteers and sponsors who help make Pick Up Pennsylvania a success,” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. “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.”
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful presented members of Penbrook Revitalization Inc. with a Community Pride Award for their many years of participation in Pick Up Pennsylvania. Just this year alone, the community group conducted five litter cleanups, removing about 1,000 pounds of trash from neighborhood locations, including storm drains that would’ve sent it to the Susquehanna River and other local waters.
DEP identifies many ways Pennsylvanians can be anti-litter at www.dep.pa.gov/litter.
PennDOT provides many additional litter cleanup volunteer opportunities, including Adopt-A-Highway, Litter Brigades, and more, at www.penndot.gov.
Because the high cost of ongoing litter cleanup is unsustainable, DEP, PennDOT, and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, working with stakeholders statewide, are developing a littering action plan to shift efforts to littering prevention. The plan is expected to be announced this fall.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 80 percent of marine debris originates as land trash.