On Thursday, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful announced plans to combat Pennsylvania's littering problem.

Pennsylvania has a littering problem.


On Thursday, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful announced plans to combat it.


“PennDOT spends upwards of $13.9 million yearly to pick up trash along state-owned roadways,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “This enormous amount of resources spent on cleanup means there’s less funding available for improving our roads and bridges.”


The groups plan to release results from the first littering study performed in two decades early next year, using the data to determine how to reduce specific littering behaviors.


“Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has been leading cleanups for nearly 30 years,” said Director Shannon Reiter. “While cleanups are critical, cleanups alone are not going to solve Pennsylvania’s litter and illegal dumping problem. We need to change behavior.”


A survey funded by the organizations found more than 96 percent of respondents said littering is a problem in Pennsylvania. Field results indicate an estimated 500 million pieces of litter on Pennsylvania roads, including cigarette butts and plastics.


“Pennsylvania has a littering problem,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Trash lines many of our roads and neighborhood streets. Hillsides and streambanks are strewn with tires and other garbage illegally dumped. This presents health hazards, it contaminates the soil and water, and cleaning it up is costly to the commonwealth and taxpayers.”