(May 28, 2020) – We have all been told that fresh air and sunshine can help improve your mood, lower blood pressure and reduce stress to name a few. But if the sight of litter while enjoying nature defeats the purpose and you, like many outdoor enthusiasts, are compelled to pick it up there is safety to consider.
In addition to littered gloves, masks and wipes that are potentially contaminated, there is also nature itself to be aware of. Stinging insects, ticks and snakes are all active this time of year.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, a statewide community improvement organization has a variety of cleanup tools and resources available, including cleanup safety guidelines on their website’s cleanup resources page: https://www.keeppabeautiful.org/keep-pennsylvania-beautiful-clean-it/keep-pennsylvania-beautiful-clean-it-cleanup-tools-and-resources/, or go to keeppabeautiful.org and choose Clean It, then Cleanup Tools and Resources.
“Over the past several weeks, many of us have found extra time to enjoy nature, taking more walks, hiking more trails, and just spending more time outside. Unfortunately, the increased outdoor activity has also increased the amount of litter found along our trails and in our parks and neighborhoods. We know folks are eager to clean up while they are out enjoying all that Pennsylvania has to offer so we want to be sure they are being safe while doing it,” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has been a steadfast advocate of disposing trash properly in the first place.
“It is imperative that we stay vigilant and properly dispose of litter and recyclables all the time, not just when there’s a pandemic,” said Reiter. “Bottles, cans and food wrappers can be a public health hazard, harm wildlife and eventually end up in our local waterways and oceans. If you pack it in, you can pack it out.”
She also discouraged people from picking up wipes or gloves without litter collection devices, gloves, or the ability to immediately wash and sanitize your hands, because the items could be contaminated. “If you use PPE, it’s your responsibility to dispose of it in a trash can,” she said. Keep America Beautiful issued an alert on how to properly dispose of PPE, noting it can hurt the environment and could spread COVID-19. Read the alert here.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, in partnership with the Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation recently released studies documenting the quantity of litter, annual costs to manage litter and illegal dumping in nine Pennsylvania cities and public opinion of litter in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Litter Research Study and the Cost of Litter and Illegal Dumping in Pennsylvania, are available at www.keeppabeautiful.org by choosing Newsroom, then Publications. For more information about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, visit www.keeppabeautiful.org.
About Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s mission is empowering Pennsylvanians to keep our communities clean and beautiful. Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and its volunteers have removed over 147 million pounds of litter from Pennsylvania’s roadways, greenways, parks, forests, and waterways. To learn more about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, visit www.keeppabeautiful.org.