HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Wolf Administration joined Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB) representatives on Monday to announce the launch of a new statewide anti-litter campaign.
Named "Pa Fights Dirty: Every Litter Bit Matters," the campaign calls upon Pennsylvanians to ensure every piece of trash, no matter the size, is properly disposed of.
The campaign is based on research that shows only 3 percent of Pennsylvanians approve of littering, yet 40 to 50 percent litter.
“Litter isn’t just ugly to look at. It can cause environmental contamination and put public health at risk,” said Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary Ramez Ziadeh. “Litter can leach chemicals into our land and water, and act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus.”
The prevention campaign was among many state and local government, stakeholder, business, and legislative recommendations in the commonwealth's first Litter Action Plan released last year.
“As a commonwealth, we recognize we need to change behavior, not just clean up the mess,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. “With our collective efforts and this litter-prevention campaign, we are confident we can reduce litter in Pennsylvania.”
A 2019 study found that Pennsylvania has more than 500 million pieces of litter on its roadways. More than 85% of these pieces are less than four inches in size, which is why "Every Litter Bit Matters" encourages Pennsylvanians to dispose of even the smallest pieces of trash.
In addition to improving aesthetics and pride, a goal of “Every Litter Bit Matters” is to reduce litter-related costs, which are currently around $350 million each year.
“As we work hand-in-hand with local community leaders, they frequently mention the challenges they face with litter – a challenge that impacts property values, business attraction, quality of life, health, and so much more,” said DCED Acting Secretary Neil Weaver. “By preventing littering from occurring, we are saving communities valuable time and money in litter removal.”
The program also featured the state's Young Ambassadors Program, a new partnership with PennDOT and KPB. The program started accepting applications Monday, Aug. 1, and invites rising 10th through 12th-grade students to help keep the commonwealth clean.
The students are chosen through a competitive process and will commit to nine months of service in representing and upholding the mission and values of KPB.
Other responsibilities include attending a virtual orientation, four virtual education and training workshops, and up to two virtual networking events, among other duties.
More information and the application for the Young Ambassadors Program can be found here.
The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) will also continue to enforce litter laws. From Jan. 1 through June 30 of 2022, the PSP personnel issued 661 citations and 562 warnings in enforcing anti-littering laws.
“The Pennsylvania State Police is committed to keeping Pennsylvania beautiful by enforcing the state's litter laws,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Robert Evanchick. “Littering is 100 percent preventable with fines beginning at $300. The public is encouraged to report any litter violation they witness by contacting their local law enforcement agency.”
More information about the campaign can be found here.