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Citizens Against Litter

February 2006 Newslitter

In this Newslitter: State of litter in Shadyside report; Winter anti-littering; No holiday from litter; Dog days; "I Litter" awards; Garbagevilles; Shopping cart cartaway service; On leaving leaves; Citizens Against Litter, Wilkinsburg?; Ask Mr. Litterman

State of litter in Shadyside report

Litter has been getting more attention in Shadyside for about nine months. We're a cleaner neighborhood now than a year ago. The litter hasn't completely gone away... and it never will, but there is less of it. There are resident volunteers on the streets picking up litter on a regular basis, not just once or twice a year. Many eyesore litter collection places have been cleaned out. Public Works departments were alerted to some excessive spots and responded. Public Works employees talked to property owners and corrected problems.

Shadyside litter, for the most part, has become manageable. Volunteer residents and other residents will continue to enjoy a cleaner community by staying on top of things.

The areas that attract and hold the most litter are the same as they've always been. The whole length of Centre Avenue, from Neville to Highland Avenues, is our biggest challenge. Ellsworth Avenue, from Summerlea to Shady Avenue, is probably the second biggest challenge. Next is the business section on South Highland from Centre Avenue to Alder. Behind the Big Three is Alder Street from Highland to Maryland and, at this point, Alder blends into the square of Ellsworth, Summerlea (that's where the convenience store sits), Maryland and Holden.

Walnut Street, the parking lots and adjacent side streets get a lot of attention, sometimes daily, so they are in pretty good shape.

That being said, the focus on three sections of Shadyside continues because these sections are exposed to the most visitors to and through the neighborhood. They are the length of Fifth Avenue (from Neville to Beechwood Boulevard); the length of Centre including the Hillman Center/Shadyside Hospital/Giant Eagle zone; and the backside of the Walnut Street businesses where waste material dumpsters line the alley (Comet Way).

Winter anti-littering

It's January 4. The weather report calls for a little of everything later today: snow flurries, rain, gloom, colder. But at 7:30 a.m. the weather is fine and a good day to pick up litter. When the volunteer starts out the temperature is pleasant. There's plenty of litter to be picked up because of the two holidays and shopping and pedestrian traffic days in between. Winter anti-littering on this day isn't any different than the rest of the year. So, as long as the weather holds up (not too cold, no ice, no snow) try it, you'll like it. And when you do a block or two, look over your shoulder and see how much nicer the sidewalks, gutters, grassy places and streets are. Glitter not litter.

No holiday from litter

According to the my wall calendar there are three observances in January -- Martin Luther King Day, Chinese New Year and Healthy Weight Week. In February there are seven observances led by Valentine's Day. Please, if the weather lets you move around, keep picking up litter. Unfortunately, litterers don't take time off in winter so we can't either.

Believe me, when you look down instead of up you'll see empty cigarette packs, pizza boxes, fast food bags, plastic food containers, drinking cups and lids, plastic water bottles, beer bottles and crushed cans, advertising newspaper supplements, discarded City Papers, and the old reliable white facial tissues and Starbucks' napkins.

Dog days

Most pet owners dutifully pick up after their dogs. I know because I was one of them once upon a time. They assume the position. Stick their hand into a plastic bag, bend, and pick up dog litter. Perfect form. Picking up dogs' litter and people's litter require the same technique. However, rarely do I see pet owners pick up litter caused by people even when both types of litter are in the same area. At least one Citizens Against Litter volunteer in Shadyside does both. She could use some company from other pet owners.

"I Litter" awards

A new year. A new list of "I Litter" businesses. The list is lean now, but wait -- the year is young. Problem is the names on advertising fliers and handbills that litter Walnut Street, side streets and parking lots are familiar. Thank these businesses in part for the litter.


Some places in Shadyside that leave a lot to be desired. Places like...

Shopping cart cartaway service

The largest litter items decorating our sidewalks are shopping carts. You can hasten their removal by calling a special number, 412-963-2380. To make their job easier, be as specific as you can with the location: street address, crossing street, front, side or back.

On leaving leaves

The worst litter carryovers on our streets in the transition from fall to winter are leaves. Newly fallen crispy leaves in the fall turn into mushy, messy, dirty, ugly, caked-on and hard-to-get-rid-of leaves in the winter. What once took a rake, gloves, regular leaf bags and a little time to remove in the fall require a shovel, push broom, heavy-duty trash bags, and twice the time "to RED UP the mess" now mixed with ice, snow and other litter.

Talk about "unsightly." If you're into disliking litter, winterized leftover leaves are a sorry sight for sore eyes.

Citizens Against Litter, Wilkinsburg?

There could be another extension of the Citizens Against Litter, Shadyside model as a volunteer litter program. On Friday, Jan. 20, Citizens Against Litter met with Wilkinsburg Mayor John Thompson and Councilman Jason Cohn and reviewed what we're doing in our neighborhood. The two Wilkinsburg officials were impressed with the simplicity and realistic expectations of the program. "You shared with us a plan and details that we can replicate," said the mayor. "We are anxious to share it with our residents. Your plans and ideas can be applied to our own program in 2006 and may get approval of our own volunteers to set goals and standards for this year."

Ask Mr. Litterman

Q: I understand you've gone one better than Dave Letterman and have a TOP 11 Citizens Against Litter list.
A: Right on. Here's my Top 11. Citizens Against Litter are people who...

  1. Are passionate about eliminating litter.
  2. Want clean sidewalks, streets, gutters, and grassy places.
  3. Are not ashamed to pick up litter/trash with others looking at them.
  4. Like looking at clean sidewalks, streets, gutters, and grassy places.
  5. Understand litterers are less likely to litter clean places.
  6. Can't stomach litter and dirty places.
  7. Want to be an example for their neighbors.
  8. Understand keeping streets and sidewalks clean are an everyday routine.
  9. Will accept cleaning up other people's messes.
  10. Want to be part of doing important small things.
  11. Know Pittsburgh has little money to keep neighborhoods free of litter.

Recent Litter-ature

A complete list of past Litterature is available in our archives.

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