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Citizens Against Litter

November 2016 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; Fall 2016 Redd Up/PMADD is history; Next up: Spring 2017 Redd Up in April; Paddlers to merge with Venture Outdoors; Philadelphia Adopt-a-Block plan a winner; "Great Idea" backfires; Connonquenessing Creek cleanup working; PRC takes over state recycling hotline; Report mailbox graffiti; "I litter" awards; Important phone numbers; Next to last word; The last word

Our mission

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

Fall 2016 Redd Up/ Pitt MADD is history

Last month's Redd Up with Pitt Make a Difference Day on Saturday, October 22 had an estimated several hundred groups participating. Participation is estimated in excess of 12,000 volunteers, including 3,850 Pitt student volunteers. The Pitt turnout -- of 5,000 registered students -- was less than expected due to lousy weather, but still more than 300 students in 2015. The office of PittServes at the university manages the PMADD portion of the event which involved 96 different project sites this year from removing littter/trash and tree planting to fence painting in Pittsburgh neighborhoods and Allegheny County communities. More than 80 buses were assembled to transport the volunteers. Citizens Against Litter has been involved with PMADD since it began in 2008.

One student describing the kind of day it was weather-wise said, "It was pretty cold and pretty miserable, but we really made a difference in the community, and that's what counts."

Pitt's event has become one of nation's largest MADD community service projects. For information contact or call 412-624-1065 to sign up for the 2017 event. Pitt's Misty McKeehen is Director.

Next up: Spring 2017 Redd Up in April

Citizens Against Litter, in association with Keep America Beautiful, has designated the weekend of April 21, 22 and 23 for the spring 2017 Redd Up. The dates coincide with Earth Day (April 22) which is celebrated in 183 countries. The spring 2016 Redd Up brought out more than 22,500 volunteers in an estimated 450 communities and groups.

Keep America Beautiful in its final report of the Great America Cleanup in Pennsylvania said one million pounds of trash was removed from local streets, alleys, parks and entire communities in Pittsburgh and the counties of Allegheny, Westmoreland, Beaver, Fayette and Butler.

Redd Ups conducted next March and April will be identified in the 2017 numbers of participants. Contact Boris Weinstein of Citizens Against Litter at 412-688-9120 or e-mail

Paddlers to merge with Venture Outdoors

Melissa and David Rohm, co-founders of Paddle without Pollution, announced its merger with Venture Outdoors with the following open letter to its volunteers (about 300) and supporters:

Paddle without Pollution is pleased to announce that we have entered into a definitive merger agreement with Pittsburgh-based non-profit Venture Outdoors regarding the PWP watershed stewardship program.

The PWP stewardship program will be implemented and run by Venture Outdoors starting in 2017. Venture Outdoors has been leading thousands of outdoor recreation activities, including hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing, throughout Western Pennsylvania since 2001. We are excited for this transition and pleased that our local waterways will continue being cared for with cleanup efforts by Venture Outdoors and the paddling community.

We are very grateful for all of the volunteer, funding, and sponsor support over these past four years. We feel very confident Venture Outdoors will be able to continue to grow the PWP stewardship program and help it reach new levels of community engagement on our waterways. Kayak Pittsburgh (which now has three rental locations) is a project of Venture Outdoors, and the group is used to trailering boats to various waterways throughout Western PA for their "destination paddles.

The Venture Outdoors leadership team and their Executive Director, Joey-Linn Ulrich, have been so gracious to the PWP staff, board of directors, volunteers, and funding organizations during this merger. The PWP organization would not have been able to continue on in its current state without a strong and competent leader like Joey-Linn and an amazing partner like the Venture Outdoors organization.

We do know Venture Outdoors will have some new things planned for the PWP stewardship program, and they are eager to continue your amazing work and to thank the PWP volunteers in their own special way. We urge all past PWP volunteers to continue your volunteer work with Venture Outdoors and help sustain the stewardship program that all of you helped to build. We have so many great memories of all of you and, together, we removed more than 65 tons of garbage and debris from Pennsylvania waterways in four years -- and all by kayak and canoe!

As founders of PWP, we thank you all for standing by us and working so hard against pollution in our waterways. We loved and cherished all the time we spent together on the water with you, but also realized that in order to sustain the stewardship program we had to find a suitable partner. We both believe we have done that with Venture Outdoors. We also would like to thank our amazing Board of Directors. Your hard work, great ideas, and friendship have meant so much to us.

We will help Venture Outdoors staff navigate the merger and provide training as much as they need so there can be a seamless transition to continuing stewardship events. On Sunday, October 23, the organization is hosting a Clean up Paddle at North Park Lake from 10am-1pm. It is free and open to the public and a perfect opportunity to bring volunteers from both organizations together.

A formal announcement of the merger will be made on Sunday, Jan. 29, at Venture Outdoors' annual volunteer meeting, and they will offer a special thank you to all PWP volunteers. Plus, we are sure to see some or all of you at future Venture Outdoors stewardship events, as we will still be participating from time to time.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email or call us directly at or 412-260-9001. Questions and ideas for Venture Outdoors can be directed to 412-255-0564 ext. 0 or

We have truly enjoyed getting to know you and spending time on the water with you and hope to continue to do so in the future."

Philadelphia's Adopt-a-Block plan a winner

From the PRC newsletter:

One man's commitment to cleaning up the streets around his Philadelphia Walnut Hill home has resulted in a pilot program that is spreading to other neighborhoods. The Not in Philly web app -- -- provides an interactive map that allows users to select their own blocks for clean up. Once a resident has agreed to take responsibility for litter removal, he/she receives bags and a quality trash grabber.

"PRC is excited to be a champion of this innovative effort to fight the age-old problem of litter through new technology," said Mario Cimino, PRC eastern regional director.

"Great Idea" backfires

The following was described in the PA Resources Council newsletter:

While the use of an untested one-shot solution occasionally leads to a fluke outcome, typically it has a number of problems. Today we're just going to talk about one: the unintended consequence. 'Someone's Great Idea' can backfire, creating negative consequences that were never intended as part of the program.

One project we evaluated involved the promotion and giveaway of litter tidy bags at an international tennis event. You can see how this might have happened. It seems obvious that having your own rubbish bag at the tennis would be really helpful. You'd have somewhere to put your stuff while you were glued to the match and it would be easy to carry one bag with its contents to the nearest bin afterwards. We know that most people want to do the right thing with their stuff and surely this would make it a whole lot easier.

Well, people certainly loved the bags but many didn't use them to pack up and bin their litter. Instead they used them to pack up and take home items like spare shoes, clothes and other promotional giveaways. Many then left litter under their seats at the stadium or on some occasions, packed a bag full with litter but then left it behind."

Connoquenessing Creek cleanup working

Christina Handley reports:

We are proud to report that the 5th Annual Connoquenessing Creek Cleanup was our most successful cleanup yet! We are well on our way to restoring this important waterway back to its beautiful, natural state by removing the physical garbage that consumes it.

We removed 72,565 pounds (36.3 tons) of garbage, including 594 tires, 130 volunteers united together to accomplish this. Now our overall total of removed garbage is 275,125 pounds (137.5 tons) of garbage, including 2,615 tires from 40 miles of this 50 mile waterway! We focused on a 12 mile stretch, starting in Harmony and ending in Ellwood City. Even though this year's cleanup exceeded our expectations, we did not have ideal water conditions. Therefore, we will be focusing on this section again next year so we will remain in Butler, Beaver, and Lawrence Counties!

Join us again next year in doing a good thing for the environment and community while feeling good and meeting new friends!"

PRC takes over state recycling hotline

Over the summer, PA Resources Council assumed operation of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Recycling Hotline. Call 1-800-346-4242 weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to learn about disposal options for electronics, tires, household chemicals, televisions and more. After-hour calls are returned the following business day.

About Nine Mile Run

The Nine Mile Run Watershed Assoc. is celebrating 15 years. Nine Mile Run is a small stream that connects Frick Park with the Mon River. It flows through Squirrel Hill and Regent Square in the city, Wilkinsburg, Edgewood and Swissvale. It covers 6.5 miles.

Of note, the Nine Mile News said in its 15th year anniversary issue "2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the completion of the largest, and arguably the most successful, urban stream and wetlands restoration in the U.S. -- the Nine Mile Run Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration project. Sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Pittsburgh, this $7.7 million, 3-year project restored 2.2 miles of open stream and surrounding flood plain. Designed to ameliorate years of neglect and degradation, this project reconfigured the stream channel, reconstructed the stream bed, created wetlands, and enhanced and expanded habitat with an abundance of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses."

The NMRWA will release a comprehensive Nine Mile Run report card this fall.

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 October'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 and others 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.

Next to last word

Here's an interesting litter observation. "This Week in Litterland" reported in its newsletter that Sydney, Australia's latest count says drink bottles and cans account for almost half of its litter. We, of course, know bottles and cans account for a lot of litter, but it is this much in the U.S.?

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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