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Citizens Against Litter

October 2013 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; Remember this litter event?; Up the Connoquenessing Creek ; South Park getting it done; A light went on; the litter's gone; Clean-as-a-whistle; Zero in; litter out; Fall Redd Up battling order; Join the litter chasers; Get off the bench; Report mailbox graffiti; "I Litter" awards; Garbagevilles; Important phone numbers; The last word

Our mission

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

Remember this litter event?

On the eve of the 2013 Major League Baseball's championship series in which the Pirates are part of for the first time since 1992, Mr. Litterman recalls one of the biggest litter events in our City's history -- the downtown celebration of the 1960 World Series 53 years ago.

I was part of that celebration. I, along with about a dozen others from our company, was almost knee-deep in the quickly accumulating fresh litter on downtown streets. Litter suddenly appeared out of thin air, tossed from office building windows onto Fifth, Wood, Smithfield, Fourth, Third, Sixth and elsewhere, of course. Litter in the form of discarded newspapers with screaming headlines, "We're the Champs". Litter tossed by celebrants from honking cars, six passengers deep. Later, litter came in the form of empty beer and liquor bottles. Litter was everywhere and it was OK. Thousands of happy diehard and new fun-seeking Bucco fans roamed the streets aimlessly for hours. Walking in gangs, back slapping, hugging, singing, yelling and toasting. We were celebrating. It reminded many of us of VE Day and VJ Day (celebrated only 15 years before).

In 1960 the World Series was still a daytime event. Maz's home run brought the game to a sudden, unexpected end -- probably the greatest, what they now call "walk off," event in baseball history. Instantly, most of the 75,000 to 100,000 downtown workers poured onto the streets and the celebration was off and running. Catching buses and street cars and jumping into cars were forgotten routines that day. Lots of cold dinners back home were thrown to the wolves.

City workers picked up the litter and straightened things up the next day. And that's probably when Redd Up really came to bat for the first time.

For your enjoyment and edification, we found a few pictures of the 1960's celebration online:

Good luck Bucs. Beat up on the Reds. We might even throw a few pieces of confetti around if they can go all the way.

Up the Connoquenessing Creek

Christina Handley, President of Allegheny Aquatic Alliance writes in with a progress report from their attack on aquatic litter:

"Our cleanup results are in. Drum roll please... In just two days over a two year, we have successfully removed 85,000 pounds of garbage, including nearly 900 tires from Connoquenessing Creek. Thanks to all for your support."

South Park getting it done

Dave Buchewicz writes in with some good news from South Park Township:

"South Park Township has an aggressive roadside litter program, and we have hired a part-time person to clear litter from all roadsides -- state, county and local roads in our township. Also, many groups are officially adopting roads."

A light went on; the litter's gone

Here's an update on Mr. Litterman's adopt-a-place. Three months ago Mr. Litterman expanded his almost daily routine of walking the Schenley Oval track. I'd walk for about a mile; then pick up litter for another 1/2 hour on Overland Drive that fronts the Oval. As expected, old litter disappeared along with the fresh litter. But not completely. A light bulb went on in my head about a month ago. I asked Public Works if it would post some "No Littering" signs. I'm happy to report those signs really got to the root of the problem. Litter has practically disappeared from Overland Drive. The signs with the warning of fines or imprisonment are doing their job.

Just a suggestion: Please consider adopting your favorite place and keeping it litter free. You'll feel good about your choice.

Clean-as-a-whistle

Shadyside's parklet on Walnut Street is usually clean-as-a-whistle, thanks to next-door neighbors The Steel Cactus and William Penn Tavern. Because these good neighbors keep the parklet free of litter and cigarette butts it's attractive to walkers, shoppers and diners. On a recent day that I was sunning, restaurant employees were picking up and sweeping up litter. Public Parking Authority employees were doing the same on three surface parking lots behind the parklet.

Zero in; litter out

Nothing new about zero litter enforcement. Mr. Litterman pulled a memo from his files dated April 2, 2005. It was written by a person who described himself as an ex-Shadyside resident. It was addressed to the editor of the Post-Gazette.

"Sir," it begins. "I've been writing to the PG for at least 10 years on this subject. My take: litter would be solved literally overnight if the police enforced the laws. Word would spread quickly, as it does in clean states, and behavior would change. Zero (litter) enforcement (and I mean ZERO) begets zero compliance. But the folks who run this city do not care about litter..." The memo went on but you get the point.

The point is the time has come to do something positive about Zero Litter enforcement. Our message is the same one we've been preaching since May.

Like most cities, Pittsburgh has litter problems. It comes in four flavors:

What should be done about our litter problems?

The time has come for Pittsburgh to push beyond neighborhood Redd Ups. This is a challenge for our next mayor to start a whole new initiative -- not just tweak a hand-me-down version from Mayors Ravenstahl and O'Connor.

Our next mayor needs to make Zero Litter, with an emphasis on "enforcement," his priority. Pittsburgh needs an all-out fresh effort to dig out the roots of our litter problems. Please, though, not city-wide at first. Too much. Too fast. It won't work.

Start in one or a few neighborhoods with a focused. affordable one-year program that brings together a committed mayor who directs his staff, Public Works, Bureau of Building Inspection, Public Safety, Urban Renewal Authority, Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority, City Council, magistrates and concerned others to strictly enforce ordinances, enact new ordinances as needed, issue warnings, write citations and collect fines.

A well-managed test of Zero Litter would work, provided there is a no-nonsense strategy of goals, studies, and applied best methods. It should also hold agencies accountable, encourage neighborhood participation, and provide for ongoing outside oversight. The key is commitment: The next mayor must make Zero Litter enforcement a top priority.

Share your comments. E-mail info@citizensagainstlitter.org or boris.weinstein@verizon.net.

Fall Redd Up batting order

Later this month -- October 25, 26, 27 -- an estimated 10,000 volunteers in more than 150 Pittsburgh neighborhoods and communities in Allegheny County and other places will participate in the Fall Redd Up. Also on this same weekend Pitt will provide 3,000 volunteers in its sixth annual Make a Difference Day. Known participating communities are:

In Pittsburgh: Adult Probation Day Reporting Center, Allegheny CleanWays, Allegheny West, Arlington, Allentown, Banksville, Bedford Dwellings, Beechview, Beltzhoover, Beautify Banksville Road, Bloomfield, Bon Air, Brightwood, Brighton Heights, Brookline, Bull Elephants, California-Kirkbride, Carrick, Chartiers, Crafton Heights, Downtown Partnership, East Allegheny, East Carnegie, East Hills, East Liberty, Elliott, Fairywood, Fineview, Friendship, Garfield, Glen Hazel, Hays, Hazelwood, Highland Park, Homewood, Jail Trail, Larimer, Lawrenceville, Lincoln Place, Lower Hill, Knoxville, Manchester, Mexican War Streets, Middle Hill, Mt. Washington, Mt. Oliver, New Homestead, Oakland, Overbrook, Paddle Without Pollution, Perry Hilltop, Pittsburgh Cares, Pittsburgh Parks, Polish Hill, Ridgemont, RSVP, Schenley Heights, Shadyside, Sheraden, South Oakland, South Side Flats, South Side Slopes, Spring Garden, Spring Hill, Stanton Heights, St. Clair, Strip District, Summer Hill, Swisshelm Park, Troy Hill, Uptown Partners, West End, Westwood and Windgap.

In Allegheny County: Aspinwall, Brentwood, Carnegie, Collier, Dormont, Duquesne, East McKeesport, Etna, Forest Hills, Harmar, Hollow Oak Land Trust, McKees Rocks, Friends of North Park, Leetsdale, Moon, Mt.Oliver, North Versailles, Penn Hills, Pine, Pitcairn, Port Vue, Rosslyn Farms, Shady Side Academy, Sharpsburg, South Park, Friends of South Park, Stowe, Verona, West Homestead, Wilkinsburg and Wilmerding.

In Beaver County: Aliquippa, Beaver. Beaver Falls, Hookstown, Industry, Koppel, and Patterson. In Washington County?North Strabane, West Pike Run.

Sign up your group at info@citizensagainstlitter.org or contact Boris Weinstein at boris.weinstein@verizon.net or call 412-688-9120. We can connect individuals to neighborhood groups in many cases.

Join the litter chasers

Be a joiner. When you give us your name, email address and neighborhood/community you want to volunteer with, we will connect you with a contact. Email info@citizensagainstlitter.org or boris.weinstein@verizon.net or call 412-688-9120.

Get off off the bench

Looking for a worthwhile neighborhood project? Businesses, corporations and groups are invited to adopt their own Pittsburgh street or zone and agree to pick up litter at least four times a year for two years. There are more than 76 adopted zones in this city program, engaging 1,500 volunteers with over 2,000 service hours that have collected 20,000 pounds of litter. Visit http://www.pittsburghpa.gov/servepgh/reddupzone/ for information and an application.

Report mailbox graffiti

Pittsburgh Postmaster Joseph Meimann urges citizens to be proactive and call the Postal Service directly at 412-359-7845 to report mailbox tagging or boxes in need of repair. Help the postal service by giving them specific information of locations and crossing streets.

"I Litter" awards

Advertising and promotional materials turn into litter in Shadyside and elsewhere. Businesses and sometimes non-profits are often responsible when they put their business on Shadyside streets. There's less of this going on September's litterers are the Post-Gazette Sunday Extra and La Nova Pizza.

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.

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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