DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (WLVT) — A statewide litter cleanup effort called “Pick Up Pennsylvania” kicked off today.
"It’s a great way to get people out in the community to address this issue. There’s definitely been more litter from masks and gloves that people are discarding. Ultimately, those are left on our roadways, running into our storm drains and getting into our creeks and potentially the ocean," Meghan Rogalus, watershed specialist for the Bucks County Conservation District, told PBS39.
Rogalus is an organizer for the Keep Bucks County Beautiful chapter. She says the spring cleanup event was canceled due to Covid-19. The fall cleanup effort was organized to coincide with the International Coastal Cleanup. The goal is to cleanup local land and waterways — and be a part of a larger movement by thinking globally and acting locally.
"Anything we do on the land ultimately impacts our water," said Rogalus. "We need to clean up our landscapes, so that we have less pollution, and ultimately, we’ll get cleaner streams and oceans."
In 2019, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful had nearly 130,000 volunteers pitch in for the “Pick Up” event.
Heidi Pedicone, program director for Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, is encouraging volunteers to go out in small groups to ensure social distancing.
"Our normally scheduled spring event picks up over six million pounds of trash statewide," Pedicone told PBS39. "We’re asking people to head to our website before they go out. There, we have a gamut of safety protocols that cover everything from snakes that you should be looking for to what to do if you see a tick on you —and a list of Covid-19 safety guidelines like social distancing and wearing masks."
Volunteers may join an already scheduled cleanup or register their own event.
"We have two events scheduled in lower Bucks County. We don’t have a lot scheduled in central or upper Bucks. If you have a small group, perhaps family members or neighbors, we’d love for you to organize and register an event on the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website," said Rogalus.
PennDOT's Adopt A Highway coordinators will connect volunteers to free supplies like vests, gloves and trash bags. Volunteers will need to wear their own mask and are encouraged to bring hand sanitizer.
If you know of an area that is consistently a problem spot for litter, the DEP says surveillance cameras may be available to help catch the culprits.
"Most of us at one point or another have come across a site that has a bunch of illegally dumped tires, household appliances and old furniture," said Deborah Klenotic, deputy communications director for DEP. "If you’re concerned about that, please contact Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and request one of the surveillance cameras that we provide to them to monitor problem areas."
Pick Up Pennsylvania runs now through Nov. 30th. Click here to learn how to sign up.
Watch the video version of this story on PBS39 News Tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.