Who’da thunk, 60-plus years after the debut of the Keep America Beautiful campaign, that we’d still be talking about litter? March’s column from Ruffian Tittmann, executive director of Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW), details their ongoing response to the problem in the park. This year, they’ve been designated a Leave No Trace hotspot from the Leave No Trace Center For Outdoor Ethics. Their efforts at encouraging visitors to Devil’s Pool and other sites to take their trash with them when they leave put a big dent in the amount of trash they needed to remove last year.
Tittmann points out that this is about more than keeping the park looking good; it also has to do with protecting the watershed from which we get our drinking water. To quote Gill, the Moorish Idol Fish from “Finding Nemo:” “All drains lead to the ocean, kid.” We should all keep that in mind even when we’re going about our daily lives. The trash we see in far too many places is headed that way if it isn’t picked up before the rain sends it down the nearest sewer intake.
Matthew George of West Germantown is doing just that. In September of last year, he launched “I Love Thy Hood,” a nonprofit devoted to tackling the local littering epidemic. He set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for additional trash cans in the neighborhood, and has purchased 12 so far; he empties and disposes of the bags himself in area dumpsters. In December, Matthew earned a Standing O Award from Omaze that earned him $5,000 to continue his efforts. Check out his video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaIdR8YgrcM.
Energized? FOW has scheduled a Super Saturday Volunteer Service Day on March 28 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. to pick up trash along Lincoln Drive. Can’t wait until then? Take one of those ubiquitous plastic grocery bags with you on your next sojourn, and pick up trash as you go. Chances are you’ll find plenty; I know I do.
Catch you in the pages next month.