Environment, Press release
Routes available for adoption, corporate sponsorship
Continuing the Commonwealth’s battle against waste as the summer travel season draws to a close, Governor Tom Wolf today highlighted the agency’s efforts to clean up and reduce this unsightly illegal activity.
“Through public education, law enforcement, cleanup and volunteerism, the Commonwealth is working tirelessly to make Pennsylvania a better place,” Governor Wolf said. “We cannot keep our communities clean without the help of the public, and I call on everyone to take personal responsibility for ending this ugly practice.”
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) crews across the state have expanded their routine garbage collection operations and these improved cleanings will continue through Labor Day. Cleanups take place on busy roads where volunteer groups cannot safely pick up trash. Motorists are reminded to slow down, drive carefully, watch out for stopped or slow vehicles, and watch workers near the roadway, along interchanges and entry / exit ramps.
PennDOT spends approximately $ 14 million per year on statewide trash efforts. Department programs such as Adopt-A-Highway and Sponsor-A-Highway allow groups and businesses to volunteer to adopt or pay to sponsor the cleanup and beautification of roads across the state.
“Every dollar we have to spend on cleaning up trash is a dollar we can’t invest in our system,” said PennDOT secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We are grateful for the work of our teams and volunteers, although what we really need is to put an end to the litter. “
The department also unveiled new anti-litter messages that will appear on its message boards across the state until September 2. Appearing when active travel alerts are not displayed, the posts aim to appeal to travelers’ civic pride and respond to a finding of a 2019 statewide waste survey – cigarette butts. cigarettes were among the most common items found in the estimated 500 million garbage on Pennsylvania roads.
To highlight that littering is an illegal practice, this summer, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) launched Operation Clean Sweep, a project that reinforces a zero-tolerance mindset with the enforcement of litter and sharing anti-waste messages throughout the year. The operation complements a 2018 state law allowing the designation of anti-waste corridors.
The anti-waste corridors have great aesthetic or historical value that deserve to be preserved or need additional help with waste problems. Approved segments will be marked with signs to inform motorists of additional fines for waste: penalties doubled for motorists caught scattering waste and tripled when done by a commercial company.
Local governments can help tackle waste in their communities by designating anti-waste corridors or working with PennDOT to identify potential state-owned corridors.
“The Pennsylvania State Police are committed to keeping Pennsylvania beautiful by enforcing state waste laws,” said Col. Robert Evanchick, PSP commissioner. “Garbage is 100% avoidable with fines starting at $ 300. The public is encouraged to report any litter violation they witness by contacting their local law enforcement agency. “
Other state agencies and partners are actively working on waste prevention and cleanup throughout the year and have reiterated the harms of waste.
“Most of the garbage along the way will not decompose in our lifetime. If you’ve seen it today, you’ll probably see it again the next time you walk past it, still leaching out, smashing into microplastics, creating dangers to people and wildlife, and diminishing our communities and our landscape ” said Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “On top of that, garbage cleanup represents a significant cost to state government and local communities, and ultimately to all Pennsylvanians. Ending the habit of littering will benefit everyone and everything that lives in Pennsylvania. ”
The DEP lists many ways Pennsylvanians can reduce waste and be a role model and works with PennDOT, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, and community leaders across the state to develop a waste prevention campaign based on the state’s research. .
Additionally, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful urges residents of Pennsylvania to participate in Pick Up Pennsylvania, in support of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. This annual event – from September 1 to November 30 – is an opportunity to improve Pennsylvania’s neighborhoods and waterways by coordinating or participating in a garbage cleanup. Registration is now open.
During this time, registered events can obtain free trash bags, gloves, and safety vests provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, PennDOT, and Ocean Conservancy, while supplies last.
“Whether you’re cleaning up a local waterway, your local park or the street you live on, it all makes a difference in reducing the amount of garbage reaching our oceans. We are honored to provide the resources and supplies necessary to help volunteers improve our communities, ”said Shannon Reiter, president of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. “Garbage collection is something we can all do to support our communities. Lend a helping hand and join us for a cleanup this fall.
For more information on how the public can help with anti-litter efforts to keep our national highways clean, check out PennDOT’s Roadside Beautification webpage. Photos of the department and volunteer force cleanups, info graphics and videos of Wolf administration officials discouraging waste are available in PennDOT’s Litter-Beautification media center.