Our anti-litter guru, Boris Weinstein, a retired marketing executive, has made a clean Pittsburgh his priority, and it may be his greatest legacy, especially if the rest of us embrace it and begin respecting our city as it deserves to be respected.
Boris started Citizens Against Litter several years ago and has since organized massive neighborhood clean-ups and smaller groups of people who adopt zones to regularly de-litter.
This installment is a worthy editorial that deserves to be spread around. Take it away, Boris:
Like most cities, Pittsburgh has litter problems. It comes in four flavors:
* Everyday litter;
* Illegal dumpsites;
* Businesses whose owners don't sweep sidewalks and gutters regularly;
* Homeowners/ renters and building owners who break the law with overflowing, uncovered and insufficient garbage and waste containers.
What should be done about our litter problems?
The time has come for Pittsburgh to push beyond neighborhood Redd Ups. This is a challenge for our next mayor to start a whole new initiative -- not just tweak a hand-me-down version from Mayors Ravenstahl and O'Connor.
Our next mayor needs to make Zero Litter a policy, with an emphasis on enforcement as a priority. Pittsburgh needs an all-out fresh effort to dig out the roots of our litter problems. Please, though, not city-wide at first. Too much. Too fast. It won't work.
Start in one or a few neighborhoods with a focused. affordable one-year program that brings together a committed mayor who directs his staff, Public Works, Bureau of Building Inspection, Public Safety, Urban Renewal Authority, Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority, City Council, magistrates and concerned others to strictly enforce ordinances, enact new ordinances as needed, issue warnings, write citations and collect fines.
A well-managed test of Zero Litter would work, providing there is a no-nonsense strategy of goals, studies and best methods and accountability with encouragement for neighborhood participation and ongoing oversight.
The key is commitment: The next mayor must make Zero Litter enforcement a top priority.
Photo at right is of a de-littering effort in Beltzhoover.