Nutter starts to tackle trash city-wide

April 5

Video of clean-up


By John Davidson
For PlanPhilly

They came out of the woodwork in Fishtown Saturday morning, brooms and shovels in gloved hands, determined at least to get their corner of the city cleared of trash.

The effort was part of Mayor Michael Nutter’s Philly Spring Cleanup event, in which some 10,000 volunteers participated citywide. Hundreds of volunteers came out in Fishtown and picked over its infamously trash-strewn streets. By early afternoon, sidewalks were dotted with mounds of garbage and debris stuffed in large paper bags. At around 1:45 p.m., City Streets and Sanitation trucks started rolling through.

The number of volunteers and the amount of trash removed far exceeded expectations.

“I was taken aback by the scale of what was achieved on Saturday,” Nutter said Tuesday.  “I am so proud of the thousands of volunteers, the dedicated public servants, the community organizations and corporate sponsors who all worked so hard to make this event such a huge success.”

The day by the numbers:

2.56 million pounds of trash collected – goal set was one million pounds

Estimated 15,000 volunteers – goal set was 10,000 volunteers

71 commercial corridors – goal set was 50

28 Recreation Centers – goal set was 10

27 Fairmount Park sites – goal set was 10

186 abandoned cars removed from the streets

Supplies used:
65,600 biodegradable paper trash bags

14,050 biodegradable paper recycling bags

17,269 pairs of gloves

9,804 brooms

Over 200 community organizations involved

3,649 volunteers attended the post-Cleanup BBQ at Lincoln Financial Field

sources: Keep America Beautiful and Ciity of Philadelphia

“It seems like the right thing to do,” said Rich Richardson, who was working with his wife and son and daughter to clean up in the sidewalk in front of a warehouse on the 2400 block of York Street.

“I think people tend to take care of right near their house, but then something like this gets neglected and someone had to come out and take care of it.”

A volunteer from Malvern, Veronica Dornan, was working to clear a vacant lot near York and Aramingo and said the abundance of loose debris in Fishtown was related to the many vacant lots here.

“There’s a lot of vacant lots, which is always a problem because trash collects and no one is responsible for it.”

The organizers of Philly Spring Cleanup aimed to collect one million pounds of trash and litter from more than 5,000 neighborhood blocks and 50 commercial areas across the city. Nutter, who began the one-day event Saturday morning at City Hall, stressed to the gathered crowd that cleaning up the city must be something residents do on a regular basis.

After the day’s cleaning was done, the Philadelphia Eagles hosted a post-cleanup volunteer appreciation BBQ at Lincoln Financial Field.

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