HARRISBURG, PA — Governor Tom Wolf is encouraging residents to help reduce litter by joining the statewide “Pick Up Pennsylvania” campaign of community cleanups running through May 31.
“The past year has shown beyond a doubt what we’ve known all along: the outdoors is essential to quality of life for Pennsylvanians,” Gov. Wolf said. “Clean green spaces and waters support physical and mental health in addition to enabling the function of the ecosystem we depend on, fostering thriving communities, and supporting our recreation, tourism, and shopping economies. It is our collective responsibility to eliminate litter and I urge everyone to take steps to help keep Pennsylvania clean and green.”
“As we see increased trash around the state, we ask Pennsylvanians to start or join a litter cleanup event in their local community through ‘Pick Up Pennsylvania,’” said Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Mask up, put on sturdy shoes and gloves, and head outside with a small group of family, buddies, or co-workers with supplies provided by the campaign. Even a small event makes an immediate impact.”
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful coordinates the litter cleanup campaign. Volunteering is easy. People can organize their own local event and register it at Pick Up Pennsylvania, or can sign up to participate in an already registered event. Gloves, trash bags, and safety vests are provided by PennDOT, DEP, and the GLAD Products Company, a national sponsor.
As part of this event, DEP and the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association are sponsoring trash disposal free of charge or at a reduced rate for registered “Pick Up Pennsylvania” participants at participating landfills throughout the month of April.
For over 20 years, hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians have participated in “Pick Up Pennsylvania” events, including Scout troops, businesses, watershed organizations, Trout Unlimited, Rod and Gun Clubs, and others. Groups in PennDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program, which involves volunteers cleaning roadsides year-round, have been longtime participants.
Adopt-A-Highway volunteers collect litter on a 2-mile section of state highway at least twice a year. In 2020, the program had over 5,000 participating groups, with more than 112,000 registered volunteers, helping to clean up nearly 8,000 miles of adopted state-maintained roadways
“The impact that litter has on PennDOT cannot be overstated,” said Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We are extremely grateful for our Adopt-A-Highway volunteers and the positive difference they make. However, because of the scale of the litter problem, the department is still investing millions each year to pick up litter, pulling staff and funding away from core highway and bridge maintenance activities.”
“The responsibility of clean and beautiful neighborhoods belongs to all of us. Picking up litter, planting a tree or painting a park bench are simple, easy activities that most people can do, and the results are immediate,” said Shannon Reiter, president of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
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