Pennsylvania Removed More than 1,300 Tons of Trash and Debris in 2002

Harrisburg, PA— Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Acting Secretary Michael DiBerardinis announced that more than 1,300 tons of trash and other debris were removed from 78 illegal dumpsites on state forest and parklands in 2002 as part of Pennsylvania's Forest Lands Beautification Program.

PA CleanWays, DCNR's cleanup partner under the program, organized volunteers to perform most of the cleanups. In 2002, 838 volunteers spent 3,769 hours - the equivalent of 471 eight-hour workdays - removing tires, appliances, household trash and other debris from state forests and parks.

Program volunteers also monitor cleaned sites to ensure that dumping does not recur, an approach that reduces subsequent dumping. Cleaned sites have had few reoccurrences of dumping.

In addition to the more than 1,300 tons of debris, more than 6,600 tires were also pulled from illegal dumpsites during 2002 cleanups. The amount of trash removed from the parks and forests dump sites last year is the equivalent of nearly 1,600 people dumping their yearly household trash on public lands. Each person in the United States generates an estimated 4.6 pounds of trash per day.

Contractors were hired for cleanups at sites where the terrain, quantity or weight of discarded materials required the use of cranes or other heavy equipment. Forestry personnel cleaned several other sites. Scrap metal, appliances, tires and other materials were recycled after each cleanup. The remaining waste was properly disposed.

"Thanks to the tremendous efforts of hundreds of volunteers, we are restoring Pennsylvania's forest and park lands for all to use," PA CleanWays President Josie Gaskey said. "But there's still work to do. Volunteers interested in creating an immediate and lasting benefit for the environment are encouraged to call and sign up for a cleanup."

Gaskey noted that when volunteers express interest in cleaning up a specific site, that site becomes a higher priority on the cleanup list.

The Forest Lands Beautification Program, created by the Forest Lands Beautification Act in 1998, provides up to $7.5 million over five years to clean up existing dumps on state forest and park lands by recycling or properly disposing of waste materials, monitoring sites and working with communities to reduce future dumping. The program is funded by the Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act (Act 101), administered by the Department of Environmental Protection.

More than 250 illegal dumpsites have been identified throughout Pennsylvania. Since the program's inception, 166 sites have been cleaned through the efforts of more than 1,500 volunteers. These cleanups have resulted in the removal of more than 1,900 tons of household trash, 11,500 tires, 280 tons of scrap metal, 525 tons of concrete and more.

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