Harrisburg – The Wolf administration today joined representatives from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to announce the launch of the statewide anti-litter campaign, “PA Fights Dirty: Every Litter Bit Matters.”
A waste prevention campaign was among many recommendations from state and local governments, stakeholders, businesses and legislation across the Commonwealth. first ever waste action plan released last year.
“As a Commonwealth, we recognize that we need to change behavior, not just clean up the mess,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. “Through our collective efforts and this waste prevention campaign, we are confident that we can reduce waste in Pennsylvania.”
“Every Litter Bit Matters” calls on Pennsylvanians to make sure every piece of their litter, no matter how small, is disposed of properly. The campaign is based on research that shows only 3% of Pennsylvanians approve of litter, but 40-50% approve of litter. “Every Litter Bit Matters” will educate Pennsylvanians about situational litter, like leaving litter on the ground next to a full box or in a stadium, and remind Pennsylvanians that litter of all sizes piles up and creates problems. .
“Litter isn’t just ugly to look at. This can lead to environmental contamination and put public health at risk,” said Acting Secretary of the Environmental Protection Department, Ramez Ziadeh. “Litter can leach chemicals into our land and water and serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus.
PA Fights Dirty was developed as part of the Wolf Administration’s Litter Action Plan and in response to the 2019 Pennsylvania Litter Research Study, which found Pennsylvania has more than 500 million waste on its roads. More than 85% of these pieces are less than four inches. “Every Litter Bit Matters” encourages Pennsylvanians to properly dispose of their smallest trash.
In addition to improving aesthetics and pride, one of the goals of “Every Litter Bit Matters” is to reduce litter costs, which currently stand at approximately $350 million per year.
“As we work hand-in-hand with local community leaders, they frequently mention the challenges they face with waste – a challenge that impacts property values, business attraction, quality of life , health and much more,” the DCED Acting Secretary said. Neil Weaver. “By preventing litter from happening, we save communities valuable time and money in litter removal.”
The event also featured the State’s Youth Ambassador Program, a new partnership with PennDOT and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB). The program – which begins accepting applications today – was recommended in the Litter Action Plan and calls on Pennsylvania students in grades 10-12 to help keep the Commonwealth clean.
“We are honored to offer the Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania program in partnership with PennDOT. We know that today’s students hold the key to a sustainable future. We are thrilled to work with and guide this group of young ambassadors to effect change in their communities and in the Commonwealth,” said Shannon Reiter, president of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
Students – chosen through a competitive process – will commit to nine months of service to represent and uphold KPB’s mission and values. Other responsibilities include attending a virtual orientation, four virtual education and training workshops, and up to two virtual networking events, organizing and attending at least one community cleanup event through Pick Up Pennsylvania, conducting a community education event targeting youth in the student’s community and promoting participation on social media.
From September 2022 through May 2023, Youth Ambassadors will strengthen community stewardship by inspiring, engaging and empowering Pennsylvanians to keep their communities clean and develop civic leadership to champion clean and beautiful communities across Pennsylvania.
More information and the application for the Youth Ambassador Program can be found on the KPB website.
Education and engagement being essential parts of litter prevention, the work of the Pennsylvania State Police to enforce litter laws was also discussed. From January 1 to June 30 of this year, PSP staff issued 661 citations and 562 warnings in the enforcement of anti-litter laws.
“Pennsylvania State Police are committed to keeping Pennsylvania beautiful by enforcing state trash laws,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Robert Evanchick. “Waste is 100% preventable with fines starting at $300. The public is encouraged to report any littering violations they witness by contacting their local law enforcement agency.