Clean Communities grant advances Monroe’s Litter Removal Campaign

Volunteers conducted a visual litter survey on behalf of a Clean Communities initiative this spring near the New Jersey Turnpike 8A entrance in Monroe. PHOTO COURTESY OF MONROE TOWNSHIP
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Volunteers conducted a visual litter survey on behalf of a Clean Communities initiative this spring near the New Jersey Turnpike 8A entrance in Monroe. PHOTO COURTESY OF MONROE TOWNSHIP

MONROE – The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) awarded Monroe an $85,000 Clean Communities grant in late June as part of its annual initiative to assist with litter removal and programming and to enhance community beautification throughout the state.

The DEP based its most recent awards, totaling $19.4 million in 2018, on the number of housing units and miles of county or municipally-owned roadways within each respective community and region, according to a statement released by the township on July 17.

“I’m excited to announce that we’ll soon be embarking on a community-wide litter cleanup campaign, which will be largely driven by this latest grant award,” Monroe Mayor Gerald W. Tamburro said in the statement. “Our recycling staff has taken the lead on this project as a way to improve the efficiency of its operation and restore our natural landscapes.”

To jumpstart its litter-removal campaign, Monroe’s Recycling Division has begun promoting its Clean Communities mini-grant program.

“We offer $500 mini-grants to qualified nonprofits wishing to host a litter cleanup event,” Joe Slomian, a representative from Monroe Township’s Recycling Department, said in the statement. “It’s a great way to get involved, to make a visible impact through community service and to impress upon our residents the severe consequences of littering.”

As a complement to the litter removal campaign, a portion of the Clean Communities grant money will also be designated for equipment upgrades, stormwater cleanup, as well as education and prevention initiatives, Slomian said in the statement.

“We are very pleased with this grant funding and with the steps our Recycling Department and our Environmental Commission, which also routinely hosts cleanups, are taking to be proactive,” Councilman Leonard Baskin, liaison to the Monroe Township Environmental Commission, said in the statement. “It’s going to take strategy and a combined effort by our community to effectively tackle what amounts to a persistent littering problem.”

New Jersey’s Clean Communities grants are funded through legislated user-fees placed on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors that produce litter-generating products.

“This funding is critical to our efforts to keep New Jersey clean,” Sandy Huber, executive director of the New Jersey Clean Communities, said in the statement. “Municipalities and counties will use Clean Communities grant funding to pay for programs, such as volunteer and paid cleanups, equipment purchases, enforcement activities and public education.”

For more information, contact Slomian at 732-656-4575.