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Citizens Against Litter

August 2016 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; Winners and losers in the litter wars; Litter-free Schenley Oval; Litter heavyweight: Picked up 31 tons; Our Chesney concert litter cleanup totaled 48 tons; Our Deutschtown Music Festival tame; On a walk with Michael Dukakis; October's Redd Up/ Pitt MADD huge again; Squirrel Hill volunteers needed; Report mailbox graffiti; "I Litter" awards; Important phone numbers; War on blight; Trash talking; Fort Worth's less litter idea worth a look; The last word

Our mission

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

Winners and losers in the litter wars

In this issue there are articles about winners and losers in the litter wars. Among the winners is Tom Williams of Hazelwood, a one-man army who keeps Schenley Oval litter-free almost on a daily basis... Another winner is a guy from Canada who has picked up 31 tons of litter in six years (honest)... And how 'bout the Toronto suburb that budgeted $18,000 to clean up litter after one of its festivals...and our own concert goers here and the Public Works crew that cleaned up after them after the Chesney concert last month at Heinz Field...You have to be proud of several North Side neighborhoods that put out a call for volunteers to pick up before and after their Deutschtown Music Festival last month. A similar thoughtful jester was in Squirrel Hill where the Urban Coalition put out a call for neighborhood volunteers to clean up during and after one of its promotions. And then there is the loser -- ex-Steeler and artist Baron Batch who was caught red-handed by the Public Works Graffiti Squad. Batch, caused $16,000 damage around the city and admitted he was out of control. There were winners and losers in our state parks -- the losers who created the graffiti, defacing rocks and the winners who are removing it.

Litter-free Schenley Oval

Our Schenley Oval -- that attracts walkers and runners, tennis players, soccer players and their families -- is one of the cleanest public places in Pittsburgh. The person most responsible for the litter-free appearance there is Tom Williams, a retiree from Hazelwood. Tom's at the Oval most days with a bucket in his left hand and litter picker-upper on his right shoulder, walking around and picking up plastic bottles, tissues, etc. from the track, infield and roadway.

Litter heavyweight: Picked up 31 tons

From "This Week in Litterland" (early July issue), Robert Charist of Kingston, Canada, has been picking up litter for six years. Here are his hard-to-believe stats. Robert has picked up 10 bags of litter a week (each 20 pounds) for 52 weeks for six years. That's a total of 31 tons. I'm impressed. Are you? Read more about Robert here:

Our Chesney concert litter cleanup totaled 48 tons

Meanwhile, this year's litter cleanup from the Chesney Concert at Heinz Field by Public Works was reported to be 48 tons:

I'm impressed. Are you? More than 55,000 people attended and were responsible for the litter. Next year, though, litterers will face littering citations according to city officials. If there was a public report of the cost to remove the Chesney concert 48 tons of litter I missed it. But it's expensive. In Toronto, for example, city officials budgeted $18,000 to remove litter after its Taste of Lawrence Festival in July. I'm sure the Chesney litter cleanup in Pittsburgh cost the promoters and/or our city a pretty penny.

Our Deutchtown Music Festival tame

Compare the Chesney concert cleanup to the Deutschtown Music Festival, also in July. After two days, 180 bands and 20,000 people attending, promoters reported little litter the next morning.

On a walk with Michael Dukakis

He may have lost the 1988 presidential election, but the former Massachussetts governor is a winner in our book. Now a professor at Northeastern University, Dukakis uses the tried-and-true method of stuffing his pockets and briefcase with plastic grocery bags so that he's always ready to pick up litter during his daily two-mile walk to work. Full story at

Fall Redd Up with Pitt MADD volunteers huge again

This fall's Redd Up with Pitt Make a Difference Day on Saturday, October 22 will end up with over 100 groups. The event could attract participation in excess of 10,000 people, including more than the 3,500 Pitt student volunteers who participated in 2015. The office of PittServes at the university manages the PMADD event which involves over 70 Pittsburgh neighborhoods and Allegheny County communities. Citizens Against Litter assisted Pitt in managing the event when it began in 2008.

Pitt's event has become one of nation's largest MADD community service projects. For information contact or call 412-624-1065. Misty McKeehen is Director.

Among signups so far for the October Redd Up and PMADD event in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County neighborhoods and groups are: Beechview Urban Gardener Group Yinzers, Bon Air, Brighton Heights Citizens Federation, Brookline (South Pittsburgh Development Corp.), Carrick Community Council, Chartiers, Community Alliance of Spring Garden and East Deutschtown, Duquesne University, East Allegheny, East Liberty Trash Warriors, East Pittsburgh Economic Development Corp., Fairfield Lane Assoc., Hilltop Alliance, Friends of the Riverfront, Garfield, Homewood, Lawrenceville United, Lower Hill, MLK Community Gardens, Morningside Area Community Council, Mount Oliver/St. Clair Block Watch, Mount Washington Neighbors on the Mount, Perry Hilltop, Polish Hill, Shadyside, Sheraden, South Side Flats Community Council, South Side Slopes, South Oakland Neighborhood Group, Spring Hill, Stanton Heights Neighborhood Assoc., 31st Ward Action Group (Hays, Lincoln Place, New Homestead), Troy Hill Citizens, West End Organizers, Windgap and Uptown.

Allegheny County neighborhood and group signups are: Collier, Dormont, Duquesne Trashbashers, East Pittsburgh, East McKeesport, Etna, Fox Chapel, Heidelberg, Hollow Oak Land Trust, Mt. Lebanon, Penn Hills' Crescent Hills Civic Assoc., North Versailles, Scott, Sharpsburg, South Park, West Homestead Volunteer Fire Dept., West View, Wilmerding and Verona in Progress Community Group.

Squirrel Hill volunteers needed

From our friends at the Squirrel Hill Litter Patrol comes this request:

The Litter Patrol and the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition are in need of volunteers for the Night Markets on August 20 and September 17. We want Night Market participants to have plenty of places to put their litter and recycling and leave the streets cleaner than when we started.

We are looking for people to help set up cardboard trash cans and recycling bins along the street from 4:30-5:30 p.m. We also need volunteers for breakdown and cleanup from 10-11 p.m. Please contact Marian Lien at or 412-422-7666 if you can volunteer.

Report mailbox graffiti

Pittsburgh Postal Service 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 nonprofits are often responsible when they put their business on Shadyside streets. There's less of this going on but July's top litterer continues to be the distribution of the Post-Gazette Sunday Extra free advertising circular.

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.

War on blight

Numbers of vacant buildings are a quick indicator of a city's blight statistics. In Pittsburgh there are an estimated 16,000 to 20,000 blighted properties, according to the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Compare our numbers to Detroit where a blight task force survey in 2014 revealed more than 40,000 structures needed demolition with another 38,000 tipping toward blight.

A recent article in the Pittsburgh Trib said the 10,000th vacant building was torn down under Detroit's massive plan to eliminate blight. The Detroit blight program started 2 1/2 years ago. The mayor there called 10,000 a "remarkable accomplishment."

Trash talking

From the Letters-to-the-Editor page in the Post-Gazette recently, Caroline Duxbury, New Kensington, writes in:

Regarding the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix: Considering all the bad news and bad behavior occurring with other events, it's wonderful to see an event where the venue is left clean and in excellent repair, and the attendees are not involved in major brawls or hateful behavior.

As the wife of the superintendent of the Bob O'Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park, I can without a doubt say this past weekend's event of 3,200 cars parked on the golf course, with more than 200,000 spectators, volunteers and participants was the most "redd-up" event I've ever attended.

Pittsburghers, and all you out-of-town visitors, you're the best!

Fort Worth's less litter idea worth a look

From the July 24 issue of "This Week in Litterland":

Storefronts in Fort Worth, TX sport decals to declare a businesses' support for 'Ten on Tuesday' to pick up ten pieces of litter every Tuesday. Along with promoting the program, the business pledges that a manager will walk the parking lot and remove litter once daily.

To learn about the Fort Worth programs contact

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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