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The Annual Philly Spring Cleanup is tomorrow. Join it… or don’t.
Opinion

The Annual Philly Spring Cleanup is tomorrow. Join it… or don’t.

Philadelphians are sick of litter and the lack of leadership to do anything about it. Is it our time to help?

Tomorrow, the Streets Department is hosting the annual Philly Spring Cleanup, the “largest single-day, citywide cleanup in the US.” Since 2008, Philadelphia has encouraged community groups and neighborhoods to pitch in, remove trash, clean up our parks and gardens.

We’ve hosted a few cleanups as Green Philly over the years. But this year, I’ve been unenthused about the annual press releases that arrive, encouraging groups to register their cleanup location.

For months, I’ve received text messages, emails, and calls about the Streets Department combining trash and recycling from frustrated citizens. Friends even sent pictures or videos of it happening in real-time.

As someone who started an organization because my employer was combining our trash and recycling in 2008, I’ve grown complacent.

It’s not that I don’t want a cleaner city. In my role, I’ve learned too much about how corporations have put the responsibility of trash back on consumers. And after countless off-the-record interviews, I’ve learned too much bout how mismanaged our city’s Streets Department is, and how much of a blame game the City plays when questioned.

I’m tired of it.

So when Nic Esposito, the former Zero Waste and Litter Director, wrote an opt-ed for the Inquirer about sitting out for tomorrow’s Philly Spring Cleanup Day, it solidified my intuition. The City has the power to create positions to create change, implement street sweeping, or add damn trashcans. But instead, they blame China’s recycling programs, citizens for littering, the pandemic, or even the weather.

Until the Mayor Kenney administration is ready to actually listen to frustrated Philadelphia citizens and do something about it for actual change, I’ll let my rakes and brooms take the day off.

Cover Photo: Keep Philadelphia Beautiful & Green Philly’s Earth Day Cleanup, 2019. Photo by In Between Rivers


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Julie Hancher
Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

1 thought on “The Annual Philly Spring Cleanup is tomorrow. Join it… or don’t.

  1. We pick up trash everyday, while walking the dog, because we are tired of our city looking like (and being treated as) a dump. We’ll do it today, too; but will not participate in the Spring Cleanup. You and Nic Esposito are correct that the city muast take the lead. The city is not wrong about citizens littering, but that’s no excuse for the city not doing its job for the common good.

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