Does Litter Bug You? Free Help for Earth Day & Beyond from PRC

Apr 05, 2001, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania Resources Council

    NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Spring is finally here and
 the snow has melted, revealing delicate flowers and... long-hidden litter.
 During a 15-minute bus ride home, a 10-year-old school boy in suburban
 Philadelphia counted 147 pieces of trash in ditches and yards.  "There was
 litter right by mailboxes!  Can't people just pick it up when they get their
 mail?  Don't they care that their yard looks trashy?" he demanded, outraged.
     If litter bugs you, as it does this little boy, there is help.  Earth Day
 is April 22, and many communities are planning to host outdoor spring
 cleanings.  A free hotline called the Litter CLEARinghouse (Community Litter
 Education and Action Resource) can help, available at 1-888-LITTERBUG.  It is
 run by the Eastern office of the statewide organization Pennsylvania Resources
 Council (PRC), located in Newtown Square, which has viewed litter as a serious
 quality of life issue since its founding in 1939.
     According to PRC's Litter Coordinator Jim Kane, "Callers are encouraged to
 report litter problems, and in return, they receive assistance in how to
 attack the specific problem they face.  These range from lingering political
 posters to illegal dumping sites to abandoned vehicles.  Hotline operators
 follow up to determine the resolution of the reported problems.  If the little
 schoolboy called us, for example, we would explore with him the resources
 available in his community to attack the litter problem."
     Since litterbugs often act stealthily, it makes sense that CLEARinghouse
 staffers use police and detective terminology to describe their work.  Kane
 recently closed a case in rural Pennsylvania, resolving a problem in which an
 illegal dumping site had sprouted up along a road.  A concerned neighbor
 learned of the Litter CLEARinghouse through his local newspaper, called the
 hotline, and was given the necessary names and phone numbers of local
 authorities who could take action.  "I read the article and couldn't believe
 my eyes," the man later wrote to Kane.  "No longer do communities and citizens
 have to sit by and accept littering as a fact of life... I want to thank you
 for the assistance that you and your organization are providing to the
 citizens of this state."
 
     Rewarding Clean Communities
     The CLEARinghouse staff also provides help in contacting Adopt-a-Highway
 programs and wants to hear about ongoing community cleanups for the master
 calendar it maintains.  It is taking nominations for the "Clean Community
 Awards Program" it is jointly sponsoring with the Pennsylvania Department of
 Environmental Protection to recognize communities that have banded together to
 fight and vanquish the blight of litter.  Cash prizes will be awarded.
 Deadline for nominations is May 15.  To obtain a nomination form, visit the
 litter website at www.litterbug.org or the DEP website at www.dep.state.pa.us
 and type LITTER in the direct link box, or call PRC at 610/353-1555.
     PRC was founded in 1939.  Its purpose is to inform the public through
 education and other appropriate means of the need for sound conservation
 practices to promote preservation of natural resources and protection of the
 environment.  Initiatives include Environmental Education, Community
 Beautification, Advocacy, Green Building, and Business Programs.  PRC's
 website is www.prc.org; Eastern office phone is 610/353-1555; Western office
 phone is 412/488-7490.
 
                        SIDEBAR: THE TRUTH ABOUT LITTER
 
     A number of myths have grown up around the subject of improperly disposed-
 of trash.  Here are some of the most common lines  -- and rebuttals from the
 experts at PRC.
     MYTH:  Throwing cigarette butts does no harm.
     TRUTH:  Cigarettes contain poisonous chemicals harmful to animals and the
 environment.  Tossed butts contribute to several thousand fires each year and
 take up to five years to degrade.
     MYTH:  There's no harm in throwing paper in a ditch -- it will stay there
 where no one can see it.
     TRUTH:  A piece of litter can travel 15 miles a day, carried by animals,
 vehicles, or on the wind.
     MYTH:  It's OK to toss fruit -- it's organic and will biodegrade.
     TRUTH:  Thousands of animals are injured or killed trying to feast on
 fruit and other food scattered along the roadside.  Beyond the roadkill
 concern, fruit takes two years to break down naturally.  Additionally, the
 food debris may attract undesirable animals, like rats.
     MYTH:  Littering creates jobs.
     TRUTH:  This is one of the more absurd myths justifying slovenly behavior.
 In reality, without volunteers, Pennsylvania would spend more than $50 million
 every year to clean up litter from our highways.  Picking up litter costs
 about nine times more than it costs to collect trash from all the public and
 private receptacles in the state.
     MYTH:  One wrapper won't matter -- it's so small, who's going to notice?
     TRUTH:  Litter begets litter, and trashing an area leads to lower property
 values and crime.  If no one picks up the wrapper, it could take 30 years to
 degrade -- and be the small spark that starts a huge problem.
 
 

SOURCE Pennsylvania Resources Council
    NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Spring is finally here and
 the snow has melted, revealing delicate flowers and... long-hidden litter.
 During a 15-minute bus ride home, a 10-year-old school boy in suburban
 Philadelphia counted 147 pieces of trash in ditches and yards.  "There was
 litter right by mailboxes!  Can't people just pick it up when they get their
 mail?  Don't they care that their yard looks trashy?" he demanded, outraged.
     If litter bugs you, as it does this little boy, there is help.  Earth Day
 is April 22, and many communities are planning to host outdoor spring
 cleanings.  A free hotline called the Litter CLEARinghouse (Community Litter
 Education and Action Resource) can help, available at 1-888-LITTERBUG.  It is
 run by the Eastern office of the statewide organization Pennsylvania Resources
 Council (PRC), located in Newtown Square, which has viewed litter as a serious
 quality of life issue since its founding in 1939.
     According to PRC's Litter Coordinator Jim Kane, "Callers are encouraged to
 report litter problems, and in return, they receive assistance in how to
 attack the specific problem they face.  These range from lingering political
 posters to illegal dumping sites to abandoned vehicles.  Hotline operators
 follow up to determine the resolution of the reported problems.  If the little
 schoolboy called us, for example, we would explore with him the resources
 available in his community to attack the litter problem."
     Since litterbugs often act stealthily, it makes sense that CLEARinghouse
 staffers use police and detective terminology to describe their work.  Kane
 recently closed a case in rural Pennsylvania, resolving a problem in which an
 illegal dumping site had sprouted up along a road.  A concerned neighbor
 learned of the Litter CLEARinghouse through his local newspaper, called the
 hotline, and was given the necessary names and phone numbers of local
 authorities who could take action.  "I read the article and couldn't believe
 my eyes," the man later wrote to Kane.  "No longer do communities and citizens
 have to sit by and accept littering as a fact of life... I want to thank you
 for the assistance that you and your organization are providing to the
 citizens of this state."
 
     Rewarding Clean Communities
     The CLEARinghouse staff also provides help in contacting Adopt-a-Highway
 programs and wants to hear about ongoing community cleanups for the master
 calendar it maintains.  It is taking nominations for the "Clean Community
 Awards Program" it is jointly sponsoring with the Pennsylvania Department of
 Environmental Protection to recognize communities that have banded together to
 fight and vanquish the blight of litter.  Cash prizes will be awarded.
 Deadline for nominations is May 15.  To obtain a nomination form, visit the
 litter website at www.litterbug.org or the DEP website at www.dep.state.pa.us
 and type LITTER in the direct link box, or call PRC at 610/353-1555.
     PRC was founded in 1939.  Its purpose is to inform the public through
 education and other appropriate means of the need for sound conservation
 practices to promote preservation of natural resources and protection of the
 environment.  Initiatives include Environmental Education, Community
 Beautification, Advocacy, Green Building, and Business Programs.  PRC's
 website is www.prc.org; Eastern office phone is 610/353-1555; Western office
 phone is 412/488-7490.
 
                        SIDEBAR: THE TRUTH ABOUT LITTER
 
     A number of myths have grown up around the subject of improperly disposed-
 of trash.  Here are some of the most common lines  -- and rebuttals from the
 experts at PRC.
     MYTH:  Throwing cigarette butts does no harm.
     TRUTH:  Cigarettes contain poisonous chemicals harmful to animals and the
 environment.  Tossed butts contribute to several thousand fires each year and
 take up to five years to degrade.
     MYTH:  There's no harm in throwing paper in a ditch -- it will stay there
 where no one can see it.
     TRUTH:  A piece of litter can travel 15 miles a day, carried by animals,
 vehicles, or on the wind.
     MYTH:  It's OK to toss fruit -- it's organic and will biodegrade.
     TRUTH:  Thousands of animals are injured or killed trying to feast on
 fruit and other food scattered along the roadside.  Beyond the roadkill
 concern, fruit takes two years to break down naturally.  Additionally, the
 food debris may attract undesirable animals, like rats.
     MYTH:  Littering creates jobs.
     TRUTH:  This is one of the more absurd myths justifying slovenly behavior.
 In reality, without volunteers, Pennsylvania would spend more than $50 million
 every year to clean up litter from our highways.  Picking up litter costs
 about nine times more than it costs to collect trash from all the public and
 private receptacles in the state.
     MYTH:  One wrapper won't matter -- it's so small, who's going to notice?
     TRUTH:  Litter begets litter, and trashing an area leads to lower property
 values and crime.  If no one picks up the wrapper, it could take 30 years to
 degrade -- and be the small spark that starts a huge problem.
 
 SOURCE  Pennsylvania Resources Council