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Environment & Energy

County Council Unanimously Approves Cleanup Day

When an out-of-state customer at County Councilman John Palmiere's Brentwood barbershop commented on the beauty of Allegheny County being covered in litter, he decided to go for a drive.

Palmiere said he quickly realized she was right.

“You see it all the time, and you don’t see it," he said. "So I just took a ride around one evening after she said that and she’s right. The place is just … we have so much debris and litter.”

Palmiere discussed the issue in a committee meeting and asked his colleagues to co-sponsor a resolution to establish an annual Countywide Cleanup Day. The resolution passed unanimously at Wednesday’s full council meeting.

The resolution states the county will establish one or more areas to focus on, including landscaping, maintenance, refuse removal and other beautification efforts prior to cleanup day.

“If you look on the side of most of the roads and areas leading up to most of the main drags you’ll see a lot of debris on the sides. I’d like to get all those areas cleaned up,” Palmiere said.

Council members plan to designate the third Saturday in June as the Countywide Cleanup, Palmiere said, but they might have to postpone the first cleanup until next year.

He said he hopes to pull together groups focused on promoting sustainability and natural beauty to empower those in the community to clean up year-round.

“I want to try to engage people, adults of course, but the young people, the youth, and try to engage these groups and to encourage them to respect and take care of our area and clean it up,” he said.

The resolution notes several initiatives already working toward just that, including the green rooftops on selected county facilities, the rain gardens in the courtyard at the county courthouse, restrictions on diesel engine idling and partnerships with County Parks Foundation and the work of the Environmental Health Division.

Palmiere said he will call on those who have worked on these projects, as well as ask council members to speak about the cleanup day in their districts to generate interest and volunteers.

In time, Palmiere said council members hope to have cleanup efforts in most of the county's 130 municipalities, but he'll start at home in the South Hills.