Lakewood to Receive $185,000 State Grant for Litter Removal Programs

Lakewood Township will receive a $185,803 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection, Commissioner Shawn LaTourette announced today.

The grant awards were announced in conjunction with an open house event hosted by the New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) at the Avenel Performing Arts Center. This year’s funding represents a more than $3 million increase from last year.

In total, the DEP is awarding $24.3 million to eligible municipalities and $3 million to counties across the state to conduct cleanups, educate the public and enforce litter-related laws and ordinances. The grant program is funded by taxes collected from businesses that produce litter-generating products and penalties paid for litter-related violations.

Other local municipalities receiving grants are Toms River, $289,776; Brick, $216,967; Jackson, $151,965; and Manchester, $143,022.

NJCCC, the nonprofit organization partnered with the DEP, oversees the reporting requirements for the program. Grant awards are based on population, housing units and miles of municipally owned roadways, as prescribed by state law.

NJCCC runs public awareness campaigns to educate the public, primarily young people, about the harmful environmental impacts of litter, especially on waterways. The organization has supported the move away from single-use plastic and paper bags through its Litter Free NJ outreach campaign to remind residents to bring their own reusable bags when shopping. In addition, they encourage the public to donate excess reusable bags to local food pantries, food banks and social service agencies by providing is an easy-to-use tool to find convenient donation locations. These efforts have helped reduce the amount of plastic pollution in the state.

The NJCCC also administers the Adopt-a-Highway and Adopt-a-Beach programs. The statewide programs support groups, organizations, businesses or individuals who wish to be active stewards of public lands year-round.

Litter comes from many sources, such as people who carelessly toss away their trash, overflowing and uncovered garbage cans, and construction sites. Litter is often dispersed by the wind and carried into stormwater collection systems where it can clog drains causing flooding and harming wildlife by degrading the quality of the state’s surface waters.

The Clean Communities grant program funds a variety of activities including volunteer cleanups of public spaces; cleanups of stormwater systems that can disperse trash into waterways; educational outreach campaigns; enforcement of local anti-littering ordinances; graffiti removal; and purchases of trash receptacles, recycling bins and anti-litter signs.

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  1. Why not put the money toward the transportation system in the schools. Then teach the kids adopt the street program. They will learn so much about littering when they have to clean it up.

    • I agree. When I used to live in Lakewood one of the entrance streets to my neighborhood was wooded. At first the litter was from people parking their cars and throwing out their lunch. For a while I convinced the DPW to keep a garbage can there. It definitely cut down on the litter. Then two boys schools were built relatively close to each other, and where the can used to be was now a makeshift basketball court. The amount of litter that accumulated not only on the street edge of the court but also into the creek and the path that led from one school to the other and the road edges in between increased 100 fold. Plastic bottles, junk food wrappers, broken glass, clothing and so much more. It was disgusting what they did and didn’t care. Are they not taught respect for God’s creation in school or in the home? I remember a saying I heard somewhere that said “nature is the art of God.” Littering is like throwing red paint on the Mona Lisa.

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