Tag Archives: Philadelphia litter

CleanPHL Litter Index Community Training

Here’s are PowerPoint files of my talk at the July 26, 2018 Litter Index Community Training.

  • Revised Slides to improve map readability (Link)
  • Original Talk Slides (Link)




Plastic Marine Debris – Wildlife Killer

EPA’s National Trash Free Waters Program  is described in this PDF (link)

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ArcGIS Story Map of LA’s Clean Street Index

LA is using ArcMap, dashcam, GPS and cameras to develop detailed street cleanliness index. Click this link to see an interactive Story Map of this innovative use of GIS to tackle a pressing urban problem.


Cleanliness Indexes are available by 39,915 street segment and are summarized into operational grids.

Philadelphia, like LA, has a serious street trash problem.  We need to dramatically improve our street cleanliness efforts. Following LA’s Clean Streets Index would be an excellent start for the Mayor’s Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet.



Philadelphia’s 311 Data Shows That Philadelphians Hate Street Trash

Slide show on how we can use Philadelphia’s OpenDataPhilly 311 data to understand and solve our street trash problem.

Trash and Microplastics in the Delaware Estuary

The DRBC’s Monitoring Advisory Coordinating Committee (MACC) and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary held their annual joint meeting on Tuesday, March 8.

I presented this slide show at the meeting to encourage DRBC and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary to begin to address plastic trash as a serious water quality challenge for the Delaware Estuary.



The presentation pdf is here 

History of Philadelphia’s Plastic Litter Battle

The Schuylkill Navy Rivers Stewards Committee held a Street Litter – River Trash workshop on 11/19/15 that included representatives from the with Philadelpha’s Streets-Water-Parks & Recreation Departments as well a number of other groups.

I presented a talk on the history of Philadelphia’s plastic litter. Here are links pdf and PowerPoint copies of my talk.

Water Pollution Stages of Philadelphia’s Plastic Litter

Have you wondered what happens to Philadelphia’s plastic litter? This pdf shows the water pollution  stages of Philadelphia’s plastic litter. here is a slideshow of a recent talk.

You can download a pdf of this talk here.


Plastic Bags Trashing Tacony Creek Park

I conducted a photo survey of plastic bags and other trash in a small area of Tacony Creek Park along Cresentville Road from Hammond Ave to Adams Ave on Sunday, April 26, 2015. This map shows this area of the Park.


Click any photo to launch the gallery slide show.

Groups like the Tookany-Tacony-Frankford Creek Watershed Partnership have many volunteer cleanups throughout the year. Unfortunately, the litter load is too much for the volunteers and the City’s Streets and Parks & Recreation Department to keep up. We must begin to reduce the plastic trash load by reducing the use of unnecessary plastic in our.

Please help protect Tacony Creek park, our neighborhoods and creeks by supporting Councilman Mark Squilla’s Philadelphia Single Use bag fee bill 150373 before Philadelphia City Council.

Please let you City Councilor know that you care about our Parks, Creeks and Rivers an that you support Bill 150373.


PHL City Council – Environment Committee Testimony

Philadelphia’s City council Environment committee held a hearing on Wednesday, March 18, 2015.  The hearing, chaired by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, had panels on Safety,  Water, Air and trash Litter.

I had the privilege to testify on trash – litter.  Here is pdf file on my testimony.


City Council’s Role in Solving Philadelphia’s Trash Problem

Trash dumping is a quality of life issue that needs to be addressed City wide.

Center City Philadelphia is an example of what can be done when trash dumping – litter control is a priority. All City residents deserve  to live in trash free areas whether they happen to live within a business improvement district or on a quiet residential street.

The trash dumping- litter problem is clear, we need leadership by City Council to begin to turn the corner and restore our neighborhoods to the trash free conditions we see in Center City.

Philadelphia’s Trash Dumpers

There are 4 types of trash dumpers in Philadelphia:

  • Construction – Commercial Trash  Dumpers dump their bulky trash  along the sides of low traffic roads, in or near parks so that they can avoid costs of proper trash disposal
  • Residential Trash Dumpers with excess trash that they do not store until trash day. They often overload trash receptacles, forcing the City to reduce the number of trash receptacles, worsening the problem
  • Property owners who do not properly maintain their property and sidewalks in litter free conditions
  • Litterers who drop their trash in the sidewalk, street or someone else’s property as they drive or walk through a neighborhood

Each type of trash dumper must be addressed separately because the reason they dump – litter, the nature of the material, the locations and the necessary cleanup efforts all vary. We must tailor our corrective actions to the individual types of dumpers.

City Council’s Trash Role

Philadelphia’s City Council sets the tone for tackling trash dumping – litter problem through the City code and the budgeting process. Long term improvements require systematic and comprehensive action by City Council.

City Council needs to address 3 aspects of trash dumping control: Prevention, Enforcement, Removal. This list provides examples of actions that City Council should consider to address the City’s growing trash dumping – litter problem.

  1. Prevention
    1. Reduce potential litter by instituting plastic bag fee or ban, bottle deposit law, Styrofoam food container ban
    2. Provide City trash receptacles in heavily traveled, littered areas
    3. Require businesses and landlords to effectively manage their potential trash generation:
      1. Require outside private litter baskets for all food merchants
      2. Require adequate trash storage areas for all rental units
      3. Restrictive licenses for tire dealers
      4. Control circular and free newspaper distribution
      5. Require home improvement and other contractors to show proof of proper construction debris disposal in order to get certificates of occupancy and other approvals from L&I
      6. Require garbage disposals in rental units, organic recycling, cigarette butt receptacles in all new rental properties and businesses.
  2. Enforcement
    1. Increase litter – dumping fines with cost escalation for repeat offenders
    2. Increase illegal dumping camera monitoring resources and focus on problem areas
    3. Increase Police dumping investigation and enforcement resources
  3. Removal
    1. Provide Second trash collection in dense, high litter areas
    2. Expand drop-off centers
    3. Restore Citywide street cleaning.