The state Department of Environmental Protection is awarding $1.2 million in annual Clean Communities grants to Morris County and its 39 municipalities to help finance litter cleanups to beautify New Jersey’s communities and roadsides.
Statewide, the DEP is providing a total of $20.2 million, with $17.9 million for eligible municipalities and more than $2.2 million to the state’s 21 counties.
“These grants help fund cleanups that will further enhance our communities, natural resources and roadways,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “By taking care of the environment around us, we encourage others to do the same in their own communities and build pride across the state.”
“We appreciate the state funds, which will benefit the county and our towns, which can put the money to good use to help finance volunteer cleanups, equipment purchases, enforcement activities, and education,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana.
Activities funded by Clean Communities grants include 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; beach cleanups; public information and education programs; and purchases of litter collection equipment such as receptacles, recycling bins, anti-litter signs and graffiti removal supplies.
As required by law, the nonprofit New Jersey Clean Communities Council oversees the reporting requirements for the program. Grants are funded by a legislated user-fee on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors that produce litter-generating products.
Disbursements to municipalities are based on the number of housing units and miles of municipally owned roadways within each municipality.
“We are hopeful that municipalities and counties will use Clean Communities funding wisely 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.
“Simple programs such as litter control do a lot for improving New Jersey’s communities, in terms of public health and quality of life,” added Mark Pedersen, Assistant Commissioner for Site Remediation and Waste Management.
Morris County government will receive a grant of $99,208. Morris County municipalities receiving the largest grants are: Parsippany, $108,397; Mount Olive, $63,967; Randolph, $57,598; Jefferson, $54648; Rockaway Township, $54,090; Roxbury, $52,167; Washington Township, $51,718; and Morris Township, $51,709.
For a complete statewide list of municipal and county grant awards, including all 39 Morris County towns, visit: www.njclean.org
The funding for Morris County government, which comes through the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, is used primarily for litter cleanups of county roads, litter abatement education, recycling of illegally dumped tires and for enforcement of litter violations.
For more information on Morris County’s Clean Communities Program, visit: http://www.mcmua.com/sw_cc.asp
Litter comes from a variety of sources, such as pedestrians, motorists, overflowing household garbage, construction sites and uncovered trucks. Litter is often blown by the wind until it is trapped somewhere, such as along a fence, or in a ditch or gully.
People tend to litter when an area is already littered, and when they lack a sense of ownership or pride in their community. In addition to being unsightly, litter is unhealthy and may create a negative public image.