To prevent trash from ending up in our waterways, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful urges Pennsylvania residents to participate in Pick Up Pennsylvania, in support of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.
This year’s program runs from September 1 to November 30. During this time, registered events can get free garbage bags and gloves provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, PennDOT, and the Ocean Conservancy, while supplies last.
In addition to the clean-up of rivers, land-based clean-ups are also eligible since a significant part of the pollution of rivers comes from land. The results of a 2019 statewide waste study, conducted by the Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, estimated that there was 502 million waste. on the roads of Pennsylvania. This waste could potentially end up in our oceans. Wind and rain drag the wastes down storm sewers or directly into streams and rivers that eventually flow into the ocean where they impact marine life, human health, and coastal economies.
Over 30% of all garbage found on Pennsylvania roads is plastic. Plastic waste left in the environment breaks down into extremely small pieces called microplastics. Microplastic is virtually impossible to extract from our lands and waters. Without an effective way to collect these tiny particles, they find their way into every aspect of life, from the food and drink we consume to the rain and the air we breathe. Microplastics in our oceans fatally affect marine life, other wildlife and enter the food chain, threatening human health.
“The most powerful solution is to prevent waste from entering our oceans in the first place by properly disposing of waste, reducing the amount of product we buy and improving waste management systems as a whole. You can help by cleaning up in and around your community! Grab a bag and pick up trash from roadsides, parks, fields and sidewalks before it ends up in a storm sewer or local waterway, ”said Shannon Reiter, president of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
The Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup engages hundreds of thousands of volunteers from around the world to remove millions of pounds of plastic and debris from beaches, lakes and waterways. This event has grown to include participation from all 50 U.S. states and territories and 90 countries, with the number growing each year. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is proud to coordinate this effort in Pennsylvania. In 2020, nearly 12,000 volunteers reached out to their communities to remove 777,650 pounds of trash and 122,600 pounds of tires from Pennsylvania’s land, waterways and coastal areas from September through November.
Individuals, families, neighbors, students, civic organizations and local governments are all invited to participate. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful suggests following all applicable federal, state and local health and safety rules for the novel coronavirus (Covid 19) in effect at the time of the event.
Current Pick Up Pennsylvania 2021 supporters include: Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania funded by the NiSource Charitable Foundation, The Giant Company, Coca-Cola, Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association, Wawa, Giant Eagle, Luminent – Fayette Energy Facility, Mahantango Enterprises, Inc. , Pennsylvania Association of Food Dealers, Republic Services and Wegmans.
If you are interested in investing in a cleaner Pennsylvania by becoming a supporter of the Pick Up Pennsylvania 2022 program, contact Shannon Reiter at 724-836-4121 or [email protected]