The Allegheny Front -- Environmental Radio for Western Pennsylvania for the week of 6/22/11.
SpeakerText Transcript of the Track:
When we think about environmental problems, it's easy to focus on the big ones like water quality and air pollution. Yet we sometimes forget about the everyday issues like litter in our neighborhoods. Here's a profile of one man's effort to clean the streets of Pittsburgh and set an example for all of us the Allegheny Front's Scott Bliss has the story.
Boris Weinstein is a spry 79 years old. He's wearing a t-shirt and has plastic grocery bags stuffed into the pockets of his baggy shorts. He's pulled on a pair of work gloves, and he's holding one of those long handled grabbers. You know, the one's you use to reach for things? He's dressed for picking up litter.
Something he does two or three times a week, every week in his Pittsburgh neighborhood.
I want you to take a look. We're gonna do this street. We're gonna tear up the coat but look how clean it already is. Okay, that's what so wonderful about it. Now some people would say "Well if it's so clean, why are you picking up litter?" Well that's why it's so clean, because I pick up litter.
Boris believes that it's the willingness of the few to go out and pick up the litter left by the many, that makes all the difference in keeping a neighborhood, or a community, or a city clean.
There's 13,000 people that live in Shadyside. 13,000 people do not have to pick up someone else's litter. And if I have two or three people, ideally, in each of 17 zones, that's like 55, 60 people. You can keep a community clean.
Boris's passion for litter isn't new. In 2002, he outlined his original plan for a clean community in a manifesto he called "Citizens Against Litter". In 2005, he formed an organization of the same name, and later a website to spearhead their efforts Citizens Against Litter is the organization that I founded, which is a Voluntary Organization.
We are not a 501(c)3. We have no funds. I believe that picking up litter is not about money. We don't need logo t-shirts, logo hats. All we need is to bend and pick up. That's it.
And Boris does a lot of bending and picking up, spending between one and two hours at it each time he goes out. He's divided up all of the neighborhoods in the city into zones, just the size he estimates one person can handle. His personal zone is an area 5 blocks long by 2 blocks wide, which includes some of the business district as well.
Now look at this. Look. Now, someone was saying it's private property. I know it's private property, but no one is asking me to get off. These are lotteries, a big contributor, also parking, parking lot. Boy this is never like this. This is very unusual. Someone cleaned out their car.
For Morris, it all comes down to personal responsibility, something he often talks about, but more than just his words.
It's really all about something you can see firsthand, in his actions in the effort he makes every week in his personal war against litter. For the Allegheny Front, I am Scott Bliss.
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