Philly Spring Cleanup Sweeps Through City Streets

Thousands of Philadelphians banded together for the seventh annual Philly Spring Cleanup on Saturday, April 5. Volunteers sprawled the city, cleaning up vacant lots, sidewalks, and parks along the way. The official Spring Cleanup, sponsored by the Philadelphia Streets Department, is a springboard to kick off smaller, monthly litter pick-ups throughout the spring and summer seasons. The event’s purpose is to begin to work towards a cleaner Philadelphia.

This year’s event marked the sixth year that Aissa Richardson, President of the African American United Fund, has helped to organize members of her group to clean six city blocks north of Temple’s main campus. The AAUF also works to distribute recycling bins to local community members who may not have the proper containers to recycle.

Richardson says she sees momentum building locally in the Philly Cleanup movement.

“We’re delighted that residents of Park Avenue have taken up the cause,” Richardson says. “This year about twenty residents from Park Avenue are out today cleaning up their own block. That’s something that’s very inspiring about this program. It gets people inspired to keeping their neighborhoods clean.”

Warren Price has been a captain for the 2200 block of North Park Avenue for five years. He says the Spring Cleanup is a good way for Temple students to get involved in improving the campus’s surrounding area.

“My particular block is predominantly students, so I’ve seen a few of them come out this time more than last time,” says Price. “Temple’s a big help, but I [still] want to get them more involved in it as far as the students are concerned.”

Members of the cleanup agree that responsibility for Philadelphia’s litter problem begins with the Street Department and continues at the individual level.

“They need to put some trash cans and recycling bins in the neighborhood,” says third year volunteer Gerry Tennant. “If they do, maybe [people] will walk up and throw [potential litter] in the recycling bin instead of walking by and just dropping it.”

The Spring Cleanup not only clears Philadelphia of its litter, but also makes citizens proud of their area. Empty lots once covered in car tires, glass bottles, and food wrappers are transformed into beautiful green meadows. Shop fronts littered with garbage are cleared; creating a shopper-friendly environment that helps to improve the economy of a struggling neighborhood.

“I like seeing the end result because the end result is a clean neighborhood and a clean block,” says Price. “I get pride in knowing that I was a part of that.”

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