Whether intentionally put there or blown from trashcans, dumpsters, shopping carts or cars, it is safe to say that most communities have experienced an increase of visible litter lining their streets, parking lots, trails and waterways during the past few months under stay at home orders. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has a program for local residents, organizations, civic groups, and businesses to be part of the solution. Their statewide adoption program is an opportunity for locals to adopt and care for municipal roads, parks, neighborhood blocks, greenways, waterways and trails.
The results of a recent statewide study on litter, conducted by the Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, estimated 502 million pieces of litter on Pennsylvania roadways, most of it cigarette butts and plastic items. A separate report supported by the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the participating cities, The Cost of Litter and Illegal Dumping in Pennsylvania, documented that just nine Pennsylvania cities collectively spent $68 million to prevent and cleanup litter. In addition, PennDOT spent over $65 million removing litter and debris from within highway rights of way across the state over a five-year period. Among other things, this litter pollutes our environment and affects our quality of life.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful partners with local municipalities to help mitigate the costs associated with cleaning up by encouraging local residents to take ownership of their communities. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful provides a sign recognizing the groups or individuals who have adopted the road or area and seeks the support of the local municipalities to provide the sign post, install the sign and provide trash disposal options as needed.
“It’s encouraging to see Pennsylvania residents getting outside and cleaning up their neighborhoods, parks and trails. Unfortunately, with the increased number of people seeking outdoor recreation, there’s a lot more litter to pick up,” stated Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
The group suggests doing a cleanup either solo or with household family members and encourages adhering to the recommendations for social distancing. All that is needed is a trash bag, gloves and bright colored clothing, if you are cleaning up near a roadway.
The benefits of removing roadside litter are broad. It sends a message to travelers that littering and dumping will not be tolerated, removes dangers to people, animals and maintenance equipment, makes our communities more attractive for residents, tourists and potential newcomers and increases property values and community pride.
“We are so grateful to individuals and groups who commit to a clean and beautiful community and to local municipalities who support them and our road adoption program. It really benefits everyone,” said Reiter.
For more information about adopting a municipal road, park, neighborhood block, greenway, waterway or trail, visit keeppabeautiful.org and choose Keep It or contact Stephanie Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877.772.3673 x104. For information about adopting a state maintained road, visit the PA Department of Transportation at www.penndot.gov and search Adopt-a-Highway.
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.