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Citizens Against Litter

August 2014 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; Citizens: Take a bow; Larimer greener acres; 3rd Connoquenessing Creek cleanup August 23; International Coastal Cleanup September and October; Paddle without Pollution's 6 big hauls; October 18 Redd Up signup update; Who complains about what?; Zero Litter Enforcement urged; Hazelwood targeted; Sign up to clean a Redd Up Zone; Report mailbox graffiti; "I Litter" awards; Garbagevilles; Important phone numbers; Polish Hill got its goats; The last word

Our mission

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

Citizens: Take a bow

Your hard work is being recognized. Your hope of a cleaner, less littered city and your tireless efforts to clean and re-clean our streets, sidewalks and grassy places are credited as one of the reasons America has fallen in love with Pittsburgh.

Craig Smith, CEO of Visit Pittsburgh, summed up Pittsburgh's favored status with three words: "CLEAN, SAFE and COMPACT."

"Pittsburgh is one of the hottest tourist attractions right now in the U.S.," Davis said recently in an article in the Post-Gazette. He made the remark when asked what is it Pittsburgh has that's wowing America? "Clean, safe and compact is the phrase that comes up again and again", he answered.

Larimer greener acres

Finally good things are happening in the Larimer neighborhood with the announcement last month of a $30 million federal grant for the development of 350 mixed income housing units. One of Larimer's true giants for many years was the late Ora Lee Carroll. Too bad she's not around to enjoy what is happening now. Congrats to today's community leaders in Larimer.

Citizens Against Litter goes way back with Ora Lee. It was about 10 years ago that we suggested to Ora Lee to transition the turnaround of Larimer and its image with converting vacant lots to community gardens and litter Redd Ups with a more positive name -- like Larimer Green Acres -- to go with the strategic plan to reshape the neighborhood. The greening of Larimer is now coming in many forms.

3rd Connoquenessing Creek cleanup August 23

A timely reminder from Christina Handley, President of Allegheny Aquatic Alliance:

"Summer is upon us and plans are being made for this year's cleanup of Connoquenessing Creek. We hope to gain your support again for this important community project. This precious waterway was rated the 2nd most polluted waterway in America in 2000. So far we have removed 85,000 pounds of garbage, including 900 tires in just 20 miles! Your support contributed to the success of our cleanup mission.

"As with the previous years continuation of this vital cleanup relies on volunteers, financial support, and in-kind donations of non-motorized boats, pickup trucks, etc. And this summer's cleanup requires even more support since Vogel is no longer able to donate their disposal services. It is on Saturday August 23, and we are focusing on a 15 mile stretch starting at the Butler Athletic Field and ending at the Forward Township Baseball field in Butler County. Please let me know if you are interested in contributing in any capacity. The more support we have, the more garbage we can remove!! Thank you for your time and consideration."

International Coastal Cleanup September and October

Citizens Against Litter, like you and me and thousands, are asked to get involved in this year's International Coastal Cleanup Across Pennsylvania for two months of September and October.

Unfortunately, all trash can reach our waterways. Cleaning litter and debris from our communities, neighborhoods, streams, rivers, lakes, roads, hillsides and parks can effectively reduce the problem.

Volunteer coordinators and volunteers are needed. Please register and receive free bags and gloves while supplies last. Contact Michelle Dunn at Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful: Toll free at 877-772-3673, Ext. 113 or

Paddle without Pollution's 6 big hauls

So far this year, Paddle Without Pollution's Water Warriors have removed more than 6,500 pounds of litter and dumped debris from Cross Creek Park Lake, Ten Mile Creek, Slippery Rock Creek, Moraine State Park and the Kiski, Allegheny and Mon Rivers.

October 18 Redd Up signup update

Mark your calendars for the fall Redd Up with Pitt Make a Difference Day on Saturday, October 18.

Thousands of Pitt student volunteers have been involved with city neighborhoods and area communities in litter cleanups and beautification projects since 2008. Early signups are:

Pittsburgh: Academy System, Allegheny County Probation Court, Allegheny CleanWays, Allentown, Arlington, Banksville, Bedford Dwellings, Beechview, Bloomfield, Bon Air, Brighton Heights, Brightwood, Brookline, Bull Elephants, California-Kirkbride, Carrick, Central North Side, CMU, Chartiers, Crafton Heights, Downtown, Duquesne Heights, Duquesne Univerisity, East Allegheny, East Carnegie, East Hills, East Liberty, Elliott, Fairywood, Friendship, Friends of the Riverfront, Garfield, Glen Hazel, Greenfield, Hays, Hazelwood, Homewood ,Larimer, Lawrenceville, Lincoln-Lemington, Lincoln Place, Lower Hill, Manchester, Mexican War Streets, Middle Hill, Morningside, Mt. Oliver, Mt. Washington, New Homestead, Overbrook, Pittsburgh Parks, Pitt-Ohio Express, Perry South, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Polish Hill, Oakland, Schenley Heights, Shadyside, Sheraden, South Oakland, South Side, Spring Garden/ East Deutschtown, Spring Hill, Stanton Heights, Strip District, Summer Hill, Swisshelm Park, Troy Hill, Westwood, and Windgap.

Allegheny County: Aspinwall, Blawnox, Braddock Hills, Brentwood, Cheswick, Collier, Dormont, Duquesne, East Pittsburgh, East McKeesport, Edgewood, Etna, Forest Hills, Friends of South Park, Friends of North Park, Hampton, Hollow Oak Land Trust, Irwin, Lower Burrell, Leetsdale, Millvale, McKees Rocks, Moon, Mt. Oliver, Mt. Lebanon, Munhall, New Kensington, North Versailles, O'Hara, Penn Hills, Pitcairn, Port Vue, Rankin, Ross, Shadyside Academy, Sharpsburg, South Park, Springdale, Stowe, Trafford, Verona, West Homestead, West View, Whitehall, Wilkinsburg and Wilmerding.

Who complains about what?

In Pittsburgh, citizens' top three complaints are potholes, snow removal and litter in that order. The Peduto administration did a commendable job removing snow in a tough winter. The Peduto administration has been doing a great job of eliminating potholes and repaving streets with a tight budget. Now we'd like to see the Peduto administration wrap its collective arms around the four causes of litter: everyday neighborhood litter, illegal dumpsites, uncovered and inadequate waste containers in commercial places and apartment and single residences and unswept business district storefront sidewalks and gutters.

Zero litter enforcement urged

True, our push for a one neighborhood test of Zero Litter Enforcement is not happening fast enough. Patience. Patience. The Peduto administration has a full plate to be sure. Hopefully our time will come soon.

Last January the Peduto Transition Committee selected Zero Litter Enforcement (in a one neighborhood pilot) as a program to be considered for roll out by the new administration. Here are the details submitted by the Public Works Subcommittee. Boris Weinstein and Citizens Against Litter first introduced the plan in an opinion piece published in the Post-Gazette.

Subcommittee Name: Public Works

Subcommittee Chairperson(s): Jessica McCurdy

Title of recommendation: Zero Litter Enforcement Pilot Program

Describe the recommendation:

Focus energy and resources in a one neighborhood Pilot Program initially aimed at the FOUR ROOT CAUSES of litter in Pittsburgh.

  1. Illegal dumps

  2. Uncovered and inadequate waste containers at business places and multiple and single dwelling residences

  3. Storefront businesses and property owners who do not clean litter, trash, graffiti and leaves from their properties regularly and ignore removing snow and ice from sidewalks (city code 419.09)

  4. Everyday litter

Is this an immediate or long term recommendation?

Both immediate and long term as noted below. We believe strongly in doing an initial pilot program in one neighborhood in order to work through the initial barriers and end up with a design that works. Then we would roll out that design to other communities as noted below.

Immediate: The Zero Litter Committee (Boris Weinstein, Missy Rosenfeld and Jan Nedin) would benchmark other cities and their successes in this arena. We would propose best practices to be used in the pilot.

There would be three phases to the pilot program:

Phase One would be one neighborhood. The test would be no less than 6 months or as long as one year.

Phase Two would introduce a second and third neighborhood, also for a 6 month to one year test. Neighborhoods in this phase would be from other Council Districts. Meanwhile, the program in Phase One would continue.

In Phase Three one neighborhood from each of the other six Council Districts would enter the test, also for 6 months to one year.

Long term: Within three years a city wide Zero Litter Enforcement Program would be rolled out.

How will this address our challenges or reach our goals?

At the start of the test, a Situation Analysis Report would set specific goals of the program: such things as the number of illegal dumpsites to be visited and monitored by police regularly, the number of retail businesses and the frequency of monitoring visits by police and/or Public Works, the number of rental apartments and monitoring visits regularly by BBI; the count and location of uncovered waste containers (business and residential) and the monitoring frequency by BBI, Public Works and Environmental Services.

Additionally, the Situation Analysis Pre-Test Report would highlight existing ordinances for illegal dumping, prohibiting business and residential uncovered waste containers, spelling out what's expected of storefront owners/businesses to keep their properties clean, and against individual littering.

At the conclusion of the first test, results would be measured against goals and existing ordinance expectation.

It may be necessary to add new codes and update existing ones, unless this cannot be achieved in a timely manner causing a delay in starting the Pilot Program.

What are the obstacles to implementation?

Getting directors and supervisors to make litter a top priority.

Director and supervisor concerns about ability to implement a new program with limited resources.

Gaining buy-in and cooperation from authorities.

Gaining buy-in from magistrates.

Selecting only one neighborhood for a pilot and asking others to wait to receive program benefits.

Who needs to be involved?

City Council, Mayor's Office, Public Safety, BBI, Public Works, URA, PWSA and city magistrates.

What city resources need to be invested?

Dedicated department manpower.

Printed materials and signage to publicize pilot program.

Purchase cameras for illegal dumps to catch contractors and others in the act.

Possible standardized, lidded waste containers as used in other cities.

What will be different if the recommendation is adopted?

There will be an immediate decrease in the amount of new litter and trash in cleaned up dumps, streets in business district will have less litter, uncovered and overflow waste containers will be reduced, "flyaway trash" will be reduced.

Describe any background materials that you consulted

Allegheny CleanWays has been a good sources for numbers of illegal sites and locations

Redd Up programs in most city neighborhoods have familiarized us with local situations

Public Works district supervisors and Environmental Services have been good sources of conditions in neighborhoods

Have other cities implemented this recommendation?

Baltimore is in the process of pushing a "Lid Law".

Cincinnati has had a waste container cover-up program to harness "flyaway trash" since the 1990s.

We would research best practices in other cities.

Are there any other considerations?

Although most neighborhoods are involved with twice a year Redd Ups and more neighborhoods have Redd Ups on a more frequent basis, removal of everyday litter will not alone control our litter problems. Monitoring illegal dumps, dealing with the open waste container problem and interfacing with business district storefront owners to reduce street litter are necessary to get a positive handle on the root cause of litter.

This could also be expanded to other types of pickup such as leaf and electronics removal, i.e. other kinds of "litter" that end up polluting the landscape.

Mobile apps can be used by residents to report and address litter and dumpsite problems. (

Share your comments. E-mail or Share your comments with our new mayor. E-mail

Hazelwood targeted

The Clean Pittsburgh Commission is partnering with the Hazelwood Initiative and the Center for Life in a one neighborhood effort to enforce building codes and control litter, graffiti and blight in Hazelwood.

In an article by Diane Nelson Jones in the Post-Gazette last week, Commission Chairwoman Sarah Alessio Shea said, "We have looked at the complaints filed, how they have moved through the system, what the disposition was and what remains stagnant. The plan is to develop a template for use in the next neighborhood we focus one." The initiative by Commission members, including Allegheny CleanWays and Pennsylvania Resources, is financially supported by Councilman Corey O'Connor. Read reporter Jones' full article on the Post-Gazette website:

Sign up to clean a Redd Up Zone

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 the next two years. For information call 412-255-2280 or e-mail

Report mailbox graffiti

Pittsburgh Postmaster Dan Davis invites citizens to be proactive and call the Postal Service 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. July's top litter is the Post-Gazette Sunday Extra followed by Family Dollar. (Dis-)Honorable mentions go to Cafe Moulin and Infinity TV Services.


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 Garbagevilles in Shadyside 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.

Polish Hill got its goats

On July 8, a herd of 30 goats were brought to Polish Hill to clear a section of the hillside at West Penn Park. The goats were the first phase of a Tree Pittsburgh project which will restore this hillside, where overgrown vines have been slowly killing the trees. Tree Pittsburgh volunteers will pull out any remaining overgrowth. Seventy-five to eighty new trees will be planted in the fall. Reporters from TV and newspapers came out to see the goats at work and spread the news around the country.

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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