Graffiti, litter cleanup set for Earth Day

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj is one of the sponsors of the Earth Day graffiti and litter cleanup, along with Senator Jeff Klein and the 49th Precinct.
Silvio J. Pacifico

Community groups will be out in force on Earth Day.

A volunteer cleanup targeting graffiti in some three dozen locations in the 49th Precinct as well as litter removal in local parks will take place on the day dedicated to celebrating and supporting the environment on Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The cleanup is being hosted by the precinct, Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj.

Anyone interested in volunteering should meet at Gjonaj’s district office at 1126 Pelham Parkway South. The rain day for the cleanup is on Saturday, April 29.

Both legislators said in statements that graffiti was a blight that would be tackled in the effort.

“Ridding my district of graffiti has always been one of my top priorities; the unsightly vandalism is not only a blight on our community, but it also devalues property,” said Klein.

Gjonaj said that the graffiti creates a negative representation of local communities, and that he was proud to host the event with the senator.

“A change for a better environment starts by working together,” said Gjonaj.

Organizations participating in the community service include Community Board 11, Morris Park Community Association, Pelham Parkway Neighborhood Association, Allerton International Merchants and Northeast Bronx Community Association.

Students from Truman High School and Fordham University are also scheduled to participate.

There are 13 litter removal sites in parks planned, the spokesman said.

The sites selected for graffiti removal are 35 locations that constituents have brought to the attention of legislators, said Klein’s spokesman.

A 24-hour store on Morris Park Avenue, a dollar store on Lydig Avenue and the many blue and green mailboxes are examples of places and things that will see graffiti removal, said the spokesman.

Paint and paintbrushes will be supplied to volunteers, he said.

David Lepore, a 49th Precinct Community Affairs Officer, said that anytime the precinct works side-by-side with elected officials and communities to addresses issues, it is rewarding.

“Listening to the complaints of the community, having meetings about this event and identifying locations that have been plagued with graffiti shows the commitment of our precinct to its community in resolving issues that the community feels needs to be addressed,” said Lepore.

Tony Signorile, MPCA president, praised the elected officials, volunteers and the police, and also many of the landlords for their cooperation.

While he does not blame landlords for graffiti woes, he said in some cases a few absentee property owners should spend more time making sure their properties are presentable.

Litter in parks is avoidable if individuals would only use the waste receptacles, he said.

Jeremy Warneke, CB 11 district manager, said that in an ideal world, cleanups would not be necessary.

“We definitely need more environmentally conscious people,” said Warneke, adding those who are not conscious create litter in most cases.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

More from Around NYC