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Municipalities earn Clean Communities grants

Cherry Hill and Gloucester Township were awarded more than $100,000 in state Clean Communities grants, according to a press release from the office of Gov. Phil Murphy.

The annual grants are awarded to municipalities and counties across the state to fund litter removal programs that clean up neighborhoods, prevent trash from entering waterways and protect wildlife and their habitats, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said.

Cherry Hill will receive $198,178 and Gloucester Township will receive $164,582. Camden County is getting $177,710 in grant funds, according to the release.

The grant awards were announced in conjunction with an open house event hosted in May by the nonprofit New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) at the Avenel Performing Arts Center in Middlesex County. This year’s funding represents a more than $3-million increase from last year.

In total, the DEP is awarding $24.3 million to eligible municipalities and $3 million to counties across the state to conduct cleanups, educate the public and enforce litter-related laws and ordinances. The grant program is funded by taxes collected from businesses that produce litter-generating products and penalties paid for litter-related violations.

“The DEP and New Jersey Clean Communities Council remain steadfast in our commitment to reduce the impacts of litter on our communities,” LaTourette said. “The programs funded by these grants beautify our communities, protect wildlife and the health of our waterways, and reduce localized flooding caused by the clogging of stormwater systems by trash.”

NJCCC oversees reporting requirements for the program and runs public awareness campaigns to educate the public, primarily young people, about the harmful environmental impacts of litter, especially on waterways. Grant awards are based on population; housing units; and miles of municipally owned roadways, as prescribed by state law.

“Clean Communities grants provide local governments with critical funds to help create a litter-free New Jersey, allowing them to organize volunteer cleanups, purchase cleanup equipment and trash and recycling receptacles for public spaces, promote litter education initiatives, and enhance stormwater management programs,” said JoAnn Gemenden, executive director of the NJCCC.

The NJCCC also administers the Adopt-a-Highway and Adopt-a-Beach programs, statewide programs that support groups, organizations, businesses or individuals who want to be active stewards of public lands year-round.  

For a complete list of grant awards, visit njclean.org/coordinators/grant-funding.

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