Opinion: Pick up after yourself, Pennsylvania

Pocono Record – At home, if you don’t like how much your monthly bills are, you can cut back. Eat out less. Switch phone plans. Shut off unneeded lights and close the front door because, as parents say, you don’t have to heat the whole outdoors!

But when it comes to taxes, that’s a bill that’s outside of your control. All you can do is go to a meeting or write to a congressman or vote out an official you think is a little too free with the public purse.

Maybe that’s not all citizens can do, though. A recent release from the Department of Environmental Protection,

PennDOT and Keep America Beautiful shows that there are some major expenses that could be cut if we all just paid a little more attention to our own behavior.

PennDOT spends $13 million a year on picking up litter. Yeah, and you thought your garbage bill was high.

And that’s not half of it. Literally, not half. Various cities collectively spend more than

$68 million on top of that, according to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. Pittsburgh alone: about $3 million.

That means there is the potential for PennDOT to put another $13 million into paving or plowing or replacing guard rails or any of the other things they could be spending money on if they weren’t spending it picking up 29.3 million soda bottles and coffee cups.

That means the city of Pittsburgh could spend another $3 million on police or parks or programs to help kids.

If we were more careful about what we throw out, that would help. If we were more aware of when we could help carry the load by volunteering with cleanup efforts, that would help.

And if we were more vocal about the importance of not littering and the impact it has on our collective bottom line, maybe everyone could help.

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