Philadelphia is becoming an oasis of rain gardens, green roofs, treescapes, and porous pavements. Source: StormwaterPa
PWD’s Green City, Clean Waters (GC,CW) is a wonderful program that will help clean our waterways and improve many of our neighborhoods. Unfortunately, GC,CW does not address street litter, a major stormwater pollution problem in the Tookany-Tacony Creek (here, here, here).
Philadelphia’s stormwater inlets are trapped so that some of the street dirt and litter is captured in the inlets which are cleaned by PWD staff. Some of the street litter, especially plastic bags and food wrapper, pass through the inlet traps and wind up in small creeks like the Tookany – Tacony Creek where they are caught by natural trash traps (link).
PWD and many others (TTF Watershed, StormwaterPa to name just 2) are doing a great job raising awareness to our stormwater problems and progress is being made. Street litter, the orphan of stormwater management, is not being discussed, mentioned or addressed by these hardworking people. Why?
Street litter is a tough, tough problem that has been with us for decades, make that centuries. We have our clean neighborhoods and our littered neighborhoods. If you live in the Wissahickon watershed, you have a clean creek. If you live in the Tacony, you have a littered creek. Upstream litter leads to creek litter.
Removing creek trash from the Tookany – Tacony Creek requires more than stormwater flow reductions, it requires litter and flow reductions. PWD could build on its impressive GC,CW program roll-out by adding CLEAN to the tag line. It’s time for PWD to shift to the City’s real mission: