Phila Trash

Philadelphia has a significant litter problem (herehere) that causes problems for our streets, sidewalks, parks, creeks, as well as the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, Delaware Bay and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean.

I started documenting the creek trash problem in the Tookany-Tacony-Frankford (TTF) creek watershed in August, 2012. You can find my detailed trash photo surveys here. As I studied the problem of litter in the TTF creek, I realized 3 important things:

  1. Most of the problem creek trash is plastic: plastic bags, plastic food wrappers, and plastic bottles.
  2. Stormwater carries street litter to our creeks – rivers either through storm sewers or overland where it is either deposited on the banks as flows subside or is carried further downstream,
  3. Much of the North Atlantic gyre plastic accumulation starts as street litter, some of it from Philadelphia. Click this image to see Dr. Kara L. Law’s (Sea Education Association) Science article on the North Atlantic plastic accumulation.



This blog is dedicated to understanding and solving Philadelphia’s stormwater plastic litter  problem to protect our local creeks, Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean.


4 responses to “Phila Trash

  1. Do you know who is responsible for cleaning litter off of the Mt AiryAvenue bridge that goes over the Septa Chestnut Hill East line? From what I can find on google it looks like the courts and PUC have made Septa responsible. The litter, trash, garbage, and debris on the bridge right now is shocking. Would love a response and some advice on how to get it cleaned up. Thanks!

  2. Hello,
    I came across one of your images from Philadelphia showing trash stuffed into a storm drain. I work with the U.S EPA trash free waters program and think it would be a wonderful picture to highlight in our upcoming Great practices document for the mid-atlantic region. Ours is a non-regulatory program that works with stakeholders to develop measurable solutions to reduce aquatic trash and marine litter. This is the picture that I think highlights this issue in a very tangible way

    Send me an email if you would be ok with us using this in our document. We can attribute photocredits to you if you need, please send details if so.

    I hope to hear back from you by 11/1
    Thank You

  3. Much street litter comes from passing vehicles. Those in cars have the least connection to a neighborhood, however, vehicles are particularly susceptible to enforcement via ticketing, driving privileges, etc. If we only had laws and a hotline.

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