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Citizens Against Litter

May 2011 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; Volunteers for you; Another country heard from; Carrick's D-Day; Two proclamations issued; Rain holds down turnout ; State of the City Report; Open steward meeting; Brookline box score; Go for graffiti grants; "I Litter" awards; Words of warning; Litter on a stick #1; Litter on a stick #2; Litter on a stick #3; Garbagevilles; Important phone numbers; One block at a time; Bright idea; The last word

Our mission

Our mission is to inspire people throughout the city and region to collect litter and connect neighborhoods.

Volunteers for you

Here's an opportunity Clean Pittsburgh Stewards and others are looking into. The Mennonite Church USA has its large convention in Pittsburgh July 4-8. They are making 4,500 conventioneers available for community service. I spoke to Katy Wall, who is a member of the convention planning committee, and she is anxious to make arrangements. Contact her at catherinelynnwall@gmail.com or 210-274-3134.

Another country heard from

Citizens Against Litter received the following fan mail:

My name is Moriah Wood. I live in Canada in the city of Ottawa, Ontario. I am writing you today because I find litter has become a problem in my community. I enjoy taking walks, but I do not enjoy all the litter. Now, for my Civics class summative, I am taking on this problem and changing it for the better and your website has helped me.

In just a few days I will be going around my community to pick up garbage so I and many others can enjoy being outside without seeing litter wherever they look. I am also doing it so that my community will be a clean ecosystem for animals to enjoy as well. Thank you, Citizens Against Litter for helping clean up your community and others. You have inspired me to do the same."

Moriah Wood
Ottawa, Ontario

Carrick's D-Day

Saturday, April 9 was D-Day... the day volunteers went over the hill in Carrick and knocked the hell out of four of the many illegal dumpsites scarring this great neighborhood. City Council members Bruce Kraus and Natalia Rudiak and staffers John Fournier and Matt Hogue led the charge of approximately 100 adult and children volunteers. Allegheny CleanWays and DumpBusters were just two of the groups in the trenches. There was a festive mood at the staging area.

Sprucewood and Alphaus quickly turned into a junkyard of 140 tires, drain pipes, auto and plumbing parts, water heaters, wood and metal fencing, bike parts, pots and pans, etc. Seven tons in all were hauled away by Public Works. Volunteers resembled mud-covered GIs when they came up for air, caught their breath, and jumped back over the hill. Residents weren't outside their houses waving flags and cheering "as the troops marched by" but we know for a fact that they are most appreciative of the effort of their neighbors. These dumps were annihilated.

Stash the Trash update

2011 is off to a promising start, and we at StashTheTrash.org wanted to update you of our progress. On March 19, the First Unitarian Church Youth Group came out to volunteer with us on our 3rd cleanup of Browns Hill Road. While there is still much work to be done, they made awesome progress! In just 5 hours, they filled over 30 bags of litter and collected a dozen or so tires.

We are also looking forward to our next group clean-up on May 9, when we will be teaming with Amizade and Mercy Hospital for the South Asian Youth Summit. Twenty-four students from South Asia will be coming to Pittsburgh to help us clean up some much needed areas in Bloomfield.

As many of you already know, in 2010 we worked to eliminate 19 of the 20 surveyed dumpsites in Greenfield. The final dumpsite on Haworth Rd. will get its final clean-up in the next few weeks. Super-volunteer Joe Divack will be involved. Ridding Greenfield of its dumpsites is a shining example of what can be accomplished in other communities."

Derek Green

Two proclamations issued

City Council presented Citizens Against Litter volunteers and the Clean Pittsburgh Commission with two proclamations for the Spring Redd Up in April and to the winners and nominees of "Bob Awards." Mr. Litterman adds his two-cents by proclaiming "Pittsburghers as leaders in the Earth Against Litter movement." Tell me: Who's doing more?

Rain holds down turnout

The weather was lousy for Redd Up weekend April 15-17. Some of the 200-300 cleanups in the Pittsburgh area were cancelled or rescheduled. Volunteer participation was lower. Reports from about 20% project about 7,000 volunteers took part in the city including 1,700 kids in 27 schools. Outside the city it's estimated there were another 7,000 volunteers.

State of the City Report issued

The Clean Pittsburgh Commission issued its fourth annual report last week. The 2010 report was distributed to Clean Pittsburgh Stewards at its annual Meet n' Greet Mixer on March 24 to city officials and City Council offices. It details programs about litter prevention and removal, education and programs about greening neighborhoods, eliminating vacant lots, removing graffiti, abandoned building and abandoned cars and recycling. The report is available on line through the CPC, Citizens Against Litter and PA Resources Council web sites.

Open steward meeting

The next Community Conversation -- when Clean Pittsburgh Stewards tell the Clean Pittsburgh Commission what's on their minds -- will be held Thursday, May 19 at the CCI Center (Sarah and 14th Streets) from 6 to 8 p.m. Plan on attending.

Brookline box score

An item in The Brookline newsletter last month noted their seventh annual cleanup with this: "In 20 cleanups, volunteers collected over 1,000 large bags of street litter. At 10 pounds each that's five tons." For April's cleanup Brookline's turnout was 46 volunteers and added tree tending, planting and community gardening activities.

Go for graffiti grant

The Graffiti Hurts National Grant Program aims to help communities kick-start or add to a local graffiti prevention program. Grant funds may also be used for a one-time project that has the potential to significantly reduce graffiti in the community. For the 2011 program, eight grants will be awarded: four cash grants of $2,500 each; three paint product grants from Sherwin-Williams valued at $2,500 each; and one Flashcam from Q-Star Technology valued at $6,100.

Keep America Beautiful affiliates, youth groups, schools, government agencies, civic and community groups are eligible to apply. Complete application instructions and eligibility details are available online at http://www.kab.org/grants. Questions should be directed to Graffiti Hurts Program Manager Jennifer Dillon, (jdillon@kab.org) or 203-659-3064. Myrna Newman, interim executive director for Allegheny CleanWays here in Pittsburgh, is available to help neighborhoods/groups with applications.

"I Litter" awards

Advertising offers and newspaper circulation promotions turn into litter in Shadyside and elsewhere. Businesses and sometimes non-profits are responsible and put their business on Shadyside streets.

Offenders are becoming fewer. Let's hope the trend continues. March litterers include the Post-Gazette, Pizzutti's and Shivaz. To ask the Post-Gazette to stop their sampling, now in its four month, call 412-263-1897 or e-mail toboyle@post.gazette.com.

Words of warning

Two years ago, a neighbor asked me, "What should I do or say to someone who has just littered? I was not pleased and wanted her to know it." My advice then is worth repeating. It's chalked full of "Don'ts". Many people today are hostile, angry and oblivious. You don't want to engage a stranger because you don't know their reaction to being confronted and criticized by a stranger --in this case YOU.

Litter on a stick #1

Several months ago, we were alerted to a proliferation of "litter on a stick" by an observer in Overbrook. It seems that several key intersections had become popular places to post, then forget about, all manner of advertisements.

After calling the issue to our attention, litter fighter John Rudiak of the Overbrook Community Council passed word of the mess along to the Pittsburgh 311 office.

Wendy Urbanik of 311 relayed the call for help to Pittsburgh Public Works. PPW Director Rob Kaczorowski promptly sent work crews out to the intersections and removed all the illegal signs. At a public meeting of the Overbrook Community Council on March 22, Mr. Kaczorowski was thanked, and he reiterated that "It is illegal to post or attach advertising or anything else to a utility pole, traffic pole, or your own stick." He further said that citizens may remove such items and he asked that they be held and Public Works will pick them up and follow through with contacting the poster, noting any further postings will be met with fines.

Just like spring dandelions, the signs are popping up again, but we can all feel empowered to collect them and notify the Public Works Department (412-255-2790) for further action.

Have you seen any litter on a stick? Where is your neighborhood eyesore? Email us at info@citizensagainstlitter.org and we'll include it in a future issue of the Newslitter.

Litter on a stick #2

We'll give politicians a break if they pick up their sticks and signs -- win or lose -- after the May 17 primaries. This is their big litter on a stick season. Mr. Litterman's watching.

Litter on a stick #3

The church at Negley and Kentucky has a sign on a stick planted on its lawn: "Please clean up after your dog. Use this blue bag." is fixed to the stick.

Garbagevilles

Garbagevilles are houses, buildings, streets and places that are a mess. Some because of litter; some because of unswept leaves; some because of trash and junk on their property. Some because garbage cans sit in the front of their houses. Many because of the absence of lids on garbage cans and open waste containers. Some of these Shadyside Garbagevilles are always a mess. This is an incomplete list of course.

Important phone numbers

Need to contact the city about something that's been bothering you, like potholes and graffiti? Call the 311 Response line (alternate number is 412-255-2621). Your request will be logged and sent to the proper department. Want to contact someone directly? The following list may help.

One block at a time

I live in Highland Park a block away from Fulton School. Across the street from the school there is a sign that proudly states that the Fulton students adopted that block of Hampton Avenue to keep clean. The block in front of the school is pristine. (But) the kids get a block away from the school and then start to litter.

A regular litter picker-upper

Bright idea

Has anyone come up with an approach to snag tennis shoes that are thrown over utility lines? They look terrible, last a long time, and send out the wrong message to the community, especially young people - i.e. that this is tolerable and acceptable. You'd think someone with a bucket truck...like a fire department or utility company or a landscaper...would tackle this one just for the publicity. Just wondering.

Ed Brandt, Brightwood

The last word

Remember. Rome wasn't redd up in a day either.

Recent Litter-ature

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


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