Governor Wolf just released the first-ever Litter Action Plan to combat the problem at all levels of the state.
It's something the Poconos has been trying to do for years.
Wolf says, "I think litter is one of the things that we really need to work on."
Governor Tom Wolf is calling on Pennsylvanians to lend a hand and change habits for a cleaner state.
Wolf says, "500 million pieces of litter on roads and highways, that’s way too much trash."
It’s called the Pennsylvania Litter Action Plan. It includes 16 recommendations that involve education, enforcement of litter laws and increasing access to convenient waste disposal and recycling options.
Wolf says, "This plan is the blueprint for reducing litter, making Pennsylvania a cleaner, healthier more beautiful place for all of us to live and work and raise our families."
Officials found nine cities surveyed collectively spend more than 68.5 million dollars fighting litter. PennDOT spends nearly 14 million annually cleaning up.
PennDOT Deputy Secretary Jennie Louwerse says, "Honestly, that is money that could go to actual infrastructure improvements, paving, bridges, roadways."
The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau has been trying to tackle the problem locally for a number of years with various programs and officials are hoping this statewide initiative will provide further resources.
Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau CEO/President Chris Barrett says, "We’ve done PSA’s, we’ve coordinated a number of pickups and we employ a private company that comes in and picks up our roadways, and we have our own company in a program called Pocono 3C where we’re employing folks who really need a hand up or are homeless to pick litter daily."
Barrett agrees it’s about changing behaviors and that has everything to do with education.
Barrett says, "It’s something that really we have to continue keep reenforcing through time and some people for instance, if they throw out a cigarette butt, they think it’ll biodegrade. Well maybe they’re not aware that it’ll take two years for that cigarette to biodegrade."
The Litter Action Plan is structured to show what everyone can do to prevent littering. If people get on board, it’s predicted the state’s litter will reduce by 30 percent within the next five years. A survey will be taken each year to document the impact.