DEP Awards $21.5 Million in Clean Communities Grants to Target Litter

By JULIET KASZAS-HOCH | May 29, 2019
Source: njclean.org

Trenton — The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is awarding $21.5 million in annual Clean Communities funding to help municipalities and counties conduct litter cleanups, with Ocean County receiving the largest grant of all counties in the state, at $218,091.

The program is funded by a legislated user fee on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors that produce litter-generating products, and the nonprofit New Jersey Clean Communities Council oversees the reporting requirements. Disbursements are based on housing units and miles of municipally-owned roadways.

“In addition to being unsightly, litter can have detrimental impacts on water quality, wildlife and natural habitats,” DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe noted. “Clean Communities grants provide a vital source of funding for New Jersey’s municipalities and counties. They fund cleanups, many along roadsides and around stormwater collection systems, that will protect water quality and natural resources, improving the quality of life in our communities.”

Litter comes from a variety of sources – pedestrians, motorists, overflowing household garbage, construction sites and uncovered trucks – and is often blown by the wind until it is trapped somewhere, whether along a fence, in a ditch or gully, or in a waterway.

Activities funded by Clean Communities grants include beach cleanups; cleanups of stormwater systems that can disperse trash into streams, rivers and bays; volunteer cleanups of public properties; adoption and enforcement of local anti-littering ordinances; public information and education programs; and purchases of litter collection equipment such as receptacles, recycling bins, anti-litter signs and graffiti removal supplies.

“Municipalities and counties are strongly encouraged to use these grants to pay for volunteer and paid cleanups, badly-needed equipment purchases, enforcement activities and education,” said Sandy Huber, executive director of New Jersey Clean Communities Council. “We are grateful for funding that helps keep New Jersey clean. We are proud to serve as an educational resource for communities, as we drive many of our campaigns to engage the younger generations to help mold positive, long-term behaviors toward discarding litter.”

For a complete list of municipal and county grant awards, visit njclean.org.  —J.K.-H.

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