Five years ago, the Clean Pittsburgh Commission began a partnership with the City of Pittsburgh to eradicate litter and illegal dump sites and has recruited more than 103,300 volunteer stewards toward that end.
A recent "State of the City" report issued by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and commission chair Boris Weinstein shows that in five years, the effort -- which includes city departments, Allegheny CleanWays, Stash the Trash and schools -- has collected an estimated 1,600 tons of litter, cleared 7,000 tires from illegal dumpsites and recycled more than 65,000 tons of waste into 16,000 tons of compost.
During this five-year period, the city saved $1.5 million in landfill costs and generated $3 million income, double the return from 2010. The city has demolished more than 2,000 abandoned or dilapidated buildings in five years and removed 8,000 abandoned vehicles.
Public Works crews cleaned up 1,800 vacant lots, removed 22,000 tons of debris and boarded up more than 5,600 properties. Bureau of Building Inspection demolished almost 2,400 abandoned/dilapidated buildings. The 2011 total of 649 was twice the number of demolitions in 2007.
The city's Graffiti Busters removed 35,000 square feet of graffiti tags at a cost of $335,000, decreasing the number of tagging incidents in three of the past five years.
"I'm proud to see all that our residents and employees have accomplished over the last five years," Mr. Ravenstahl said. "The hard work of the Clean Pittsburgh Commission, as well as community members and organizations, truly makes an impact on the livability of our city."
The report showed a jump in tonnage collected between 2010 and 2011 -- from 211.14 tons of debris and 1,590 tires to 291.07 tons of debris and 3,724 tires.
Mr. Weinstein's Citizens Against Litter collected about 1,000 tons of litter, and the city's Redd Up Zone program has cleaned up 20 miles of city streets. The mayor's Love Your Block program has mobilized groups to care for 47 city blocks.
"The Clean Pittsburgh Commission vision for Pittsburgh is a city striving to be recognized as one of the cleanest and greenest in America," Mr. Weinstein said. "One could say removing litter is a thankless job because it comes right back, but CPC members know residents appreciate their efforts and the results."
Diana Nelson Jones: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1626. First Published April 4, 2012 10:15 AM