Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – A group of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) employees are about to receive the Governor’s Achievement Awards, in recognition of their efforts to develop Pennsylvania’s very first litter. Action plan.
Through coordination with more than 100 stakeholders, employees led the development of a plan with a new goal: to shift the focus of waste from cleanup to prevention. The plan includes resources and suggestions for the General Assembly, state agencies, local governments and the public.
- Jessica Shirley, Former Director of Policy, DEP
- Kate Cole, Policy Director, DEP
- Natasha Fackler, Former Director of Policy, PennDOT
- Emily Watts, Former Executive Policy Specialist, PennDOT
PennDOT spends about $14 million each year on trash cleanups statewide, and DEP has funded the “Pick Up Pennsylvania” community trash cleanup and illegal dumpsites cleanup for more than two decades, helping volunteers to remove many tons of waste from land and water.
“It’s clear that to really see less trash in Pennsylvania, we need to focus on people not throwing trash in the first place,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. “The Waste Action Plan provides real solutions that can be implemented at the state, local, and individual level to help create a cleaner Pennsylvania for all of us. I am so proud of the work this team has done to develop this plan.
“This award is very well-deserved and represents the work this team has done to keep Keystone State trash-free,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “This plan is needed because of the growing – and frankly disgusting – problem of litter polluting our lands and waters. The Litter Action Plan puts us on the path to a cleaner, more beautiful Pennsylvania.
The persistence of litter prompted PennDOT and DEP to partner with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to conduct the first comprehensive state study to inform the development of the Litter Action Plan, with a focus on modifying the behavior of the waste.
“I am privileged to commend the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for their vital, mission-based work in developing the first-ever waste action plan for the state,” said Shannon Reiter, president of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. “The Plan’s Master Plan for Implementing Preventative Measures and Behavior Change Strategies to Reduce Litter in Pennsylvania will benefit and positively impact the health, safety and beauty of entire communities throughout the Commonwealth.”
DEP identifies many ways Pennsylvanians can be anti-litter at www.dep.pa.gov/litter. PennDOT provides litter information and many other litter cleanup volunteer opportunities, including Adopt-A-Highway, Litter Brigades, and more on its Roadside Beautification page.
The Governor’s Awards of Excellence recognize exemplary professional performance or service that reflects initiative, leadership, innovation and increased efficiency. The PennDOT and DEP team were among 50 employees from 12 state agencies honored by Governor Wolf for outstanding achievement in 2021.