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Your Money: $21.5M in Clean Communities Grants to Cities

 TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection is awarding $21.5 million in annual Clean Communities grants to help municipalities and counties conduct litter LGdxQbqX_400x400 2cleanups that improve the quality of life in New Jersey's communities, Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced today.

The DEP is awarding $19.1 million to eligible municipalities and $2.4 million to the state's 21 counties. This is a $2.2 million increase from last year, as the result of an increase in revenues. The program is funded by a legislated user-fee on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors that produce litter-generating products.

"In addition to being unsightly, litter can have detrimental impacts on water quality, wildlife and natural habitats," Commissioner McCabe said. "Clean Communities grants provide a vital source of funding for New Jersey's municipalities and counties. They fund cleanups, many along roadsides and around stormwater collection systems, that will protect water quality and natural resources, improving the quality of life in our communities."

The nonprofit New Jersey Clean Communities Council oversees the reporting requirements for the program. Disbursements are based on housing units and miles of municipally owned roadways.

"Municipalities and counties are strongly encouraged to use these grants to pay for volunteer and paid cleanups, badly-needed equipment purchases, enforcement activities and education," said Sandy Huber, Executive Director of New Jersey Clean Communities Council. "We are grateful for funding that helps keep New Jersey clean. We are proud to serve as an educational resource for communities, as we drive many of our campaigns to engage the younger generations to help mold positive, long-term behaviors toward discarding litter."

An example of the strength of the Clean Communities program is Morris County, where education and outreach programs reach thousands of people at schools, libraries, fairs and festivals.  

Cleanup efforts targeted 127 miles of county roads and some 1,350 students and staff removed litter from more than 100 acres of public-school properties last year. In addition, the county's Mosquito Control Division removed 1,039 tires this year.

Municipalities receiving the largest grants this year are: Newark, Essex County, $448,791; Jersey City, Hudson County, $414,401; Toms River, Ocean County, $232,913; Paterson, Passaic County, $200,796; Hamilton, Mercer County, $197,512; Elizabeth, Union County, $184,838; Edison, Middlesex County, $185,575; Woodbridge, Middlesex County, $182,134; Brick, Ocean County, $176,879; Middletown, Monmouth County, $160,009; Cherry Hill, Camden County, $157,342; Trenton, Mercer County, $147,974; Vineland, Cumberland County, $139,021; Clifton, Passaic County, $143,829; Franklin, Somerset County, $136,273;  Berkeley, Ocean County, $136,028; and Camden, Camden County, $131,661.

Also, Gloucester Township, Camden County, $129,384; Lakewood, Ocean County, $124,763; Old Bridge, Middlesex County, $124,553; Howell, Monmouth County, $122,124; Jackson, Ocean County, $119,496; Parsippany-Troy Hills, Morris County, $115,736; East Orange, Essex County, $114,950; Manchester, Ocean County, $114,851; Wayne, Passaic County, $111,906; Bayonne, Hudson County, $110,204; Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County, $108,253; Bridgewater, Somerset County, $103,948; Piscataway, Middlesex County, $103,640; East Brunswick, Middlesex County, $102,200; and Evesham, Burlington County, $101,826.

Counties receiving the largest grants are: Ocean, $218,091; Cumberland, $191,126; Burlington, $179,004; Bergen, $156,516; Gloucester, $146,629; Camden, $140,475; Monmouth, $134,389; Atlantic, $131,911; Salem, $127,248; Middlesex, $111,336; Sussex, $111,068; and Morris, $101,199.

Litter comes from a variety of sources, such as pedestrians, motorists, overflowing household garbage, construction sites and uncovered trucks. Litter is often blown by the wind until it is trapped somewhere, such as along a fence, or in a ditch or gully. People tend to litter when an area is already littered, and when they lack a sense of ownership or pride in their community.

Activities funded by Clean Communities grants include cleanups of stormwater systems that can disperse trash into streams, rivers and bays; volunteer cleanups of public properties; adoption and enforcement of local anti-littering ordinances; beach cleanups; public information and education programs; and purchases of litter collection equipment such as receptacles, recycling bins, anti-litter signs and graffiti removal supplies.

For a complete list of municipal and county grant awards, visit www.njclean.org

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