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Prince George’s Looks to Clean Itself Up

Prince George’s County has collected nearly 3½ million pounds of trash this fiscal year but it’s not enough for residents who assert that trash remains a problem in some neighborhoods — a disturbing reality that often results in decreased property values.

However, thanks to the county council, the Department of Public Works and Transportation will receive $2 million to spread equally in all nine council districts to combat litter.

“Our goal is to beautify Prince George’s County as much as we can,” said Darryl Mobley, director of the county’s Public Works Department.

The department will lead the “Litter Movement” to collect trash and recyclables in neighborhoods in an effort to make the county more sustainable.

Announced March 30 at the Woodlawn Recreation Center in Hyattsville, the new Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative will boost economics, property values and an overall quality of life.

Other county agencies will participate including the Department of Corrections where inmates will be directed to pick up trash and recyclables on various streets.

In addition, high school students will be able to do their part — receiving credits or service learning hours that may be used toward graduation on various clean-up projects like Earth Day on April 22 along the Anacostia Watershed.

“The importance of litter … is just as important as public safety,” County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said. “Not one square inch in Prince George’s County is [litter] acceptable. We needed to treat this as the most important issue that it is.”

Meanwhile, the county has a “PGCLitterTRAK” smartphone app to keep track of locations where trash gets collected.

Tiaa Rutherford, litter reduction program manager for the county’s Department of the Environment, recently spoke with several dozen Largo residents on how to use the app.

When leaders of community groups, civic organizations and individual citizens log onto the app, they will be asked a series of questions such as the kind of clean-up work being done, the number of bags of litter or recyclables collected and what type. A picture can also be uploaded through the app.

After inputting the information, it will be received by Rutherford and others in her office and then disseminated to public works for collection.

Andrew Carter, 34, said the app will let county officials know more about his Lewisdale community in the Hyattsville area.

“There’s trash that’s lined up on certain streets as well as graffiti, so inputting information to let the county know [what we’re facing] is a good thing,” said Carter, a member of the Lewisdale Citizens Association.

For more information, go to http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/2607/PGCLitterTRAK.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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