EPA’s National Trash Free Waters Program is described in this PDF (link)
We intuitively know that much of the plastic litter on our city streets will be carried by stormwater runoff to our creeks and rivers. We also know that macro plastic breaks down into microplastics (< 5 mm) and that researchers have found elevated levels in freshwater and marine waters across the globe.
Unfortunately there is little peer reviewed research into the direct link between stormwater runoff and microplastic levels in river and coastal bays.
Two California microplastic studies conducted by Algalita Marine Research Foundation (link) conducted in 2000 – 2001 demonstrate the role that stormwater runoff plays in Southern California coastal water and shows why we need aquatic microplastic research in the Schuylkill – Delaware Basin.
Logan Triangle, like many areas in Philadelphia, suffers from excessive illegal dumping.
At the Logan Civic Association meeting on May 14th, local residents complained about this long term problem and asked for action.
Based on District 8 Trash Task Force meetings, personal investigations and Philadelphia’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet information, I have assembled the attached Logan Triangle Illegal Dumping Action Plan to help focus our efforts to tackling the Logan Triangle and wider dumping crisis.
Key points from this draft plan:
- Six Illegal Dumping Control Actions are available to communities and the City
- Encourage community Philly311 reporting
- Engage Area Block Captains (8 in Logan Triangle vicinity)
- Engage SWEEP officers to assess Logan Triangle situation & make recommendations
- Illegal Dumping, Truck Parking Signs
- Enhanced Barriers (specific recommendations for Logan Triangle provided)
- Surveillance Cameras ( 4 proposed for Logan Triangle)
- Logan Triangle has many specific dumping hot spots. 8 action areas have been identified to begin coordinated community – City efforts. Additional action areas will be added as we progress
- Specific action plans have been developed for each of the initial 8 action areas.
- There are 8 Block Captains in the Triangle vicinity. They could provide valuable insight and leadership to our efforts if the Streets Department can facilitate communication between these Block Captains and the District 8 Trash Task Force.
- SWEEP officers have extensive experience assessing trash sources and corrective actions which can help the community efforts. Can the Streets Department facilitate communication between SWEEP officers and the District 8 Trash Task Force?
- Streets placed dozens of concrete barriers around Logan Triangle to limit access to the open land. This report identifies several locations where dumpers are able to bypass the barriers to dump. Specific recommendations are included to move, realign and/or remove barriers by action area.
- Philly311 has accepted multi-block illegal dumping requests and currently is processing requests for 3 of the 8 action areas in Logan Triangle.
- 4 surveillance camera locations are recommended. Can Streets and Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority expedite camera deployment to these 4 Logan triangle locations?
Logan Civic Association meeting on May 14, 2018 will discuss Illegal Dumping in Logan Triangle.
I conducted a photo trash survey of Logan Triangle on May 8th. There are dozens of illegal dump sites in City streets and sidewalks as well as on Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) property. Here’s a summary of the survey:
Vox has a great video that explains how loss of sea ice in the arctic is affecting our weather.
In my January, 2017 post, I compared Philadelphia’s earlier litter index to the then recently released LA Street Litter Index. LA had made significant improvements in their index. I am thrilled to report that one year later, Philadelphia has a state-of-the-art litter index that provides litter status data for every street segment in the City.
The new index is based on city block surveys where surveyors assessed the litter situation on a 4 point scale:
- Little to no litter
- Litter, in the amount that can be picked up by one person
- Litter, in the amount that would need a team to clean up
- Litter, requires a large clean effort and/or heavy machinery to remove
Surveyor data included date(s) of survey, litter count for the block as well as a link to field photograph(s).
Users can download the City’s detailed litter survey data at 3 levels of detail:
- Detailed Survey Points – detailed data for each survey point
- Street Segments
- Ward Divisions, aka voting precints
I have started analyzing the 2017 Litter Index Data for Council District 8. These 2 maps show the point survey data and the block – street segment data for Council District 8.
Congratulations to the City’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet for implementing this comprehensive litter measurement system. This data will help community groups, individuals, litter activists and City Departments to focus attention on both city-wide and neighborhood priorities and measure progress as we work together to solve the City’s chronic street trash problem.