PATERSON, N.J. ‑ The Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders has received a $80,298 grant from the 2017 NJ Clean Communities Entitlement to clean up litter and trash.

Grant funds can also be used for educational programs, graffiti abatement, and enforcement of anti-littering laws.

“Of all the programs and grants for environmental cleanup, this is the only program in New Jersey that specifically targets litter abatement,” said Freeholder Director Sandi Lazzara. “The NJ Clean Communities grant is flexible and allows recipients to tailor their program to their exact needs.”

The county Health Department's environmental education specialist teaches environmental stewardship at schools, clubs, and non-profits. Special events include performance troops that focus on children’s education programs.

The funds from the NJ Clean Communities grant also enables the freeholders to create micro-grants for local clean-up efforts. Any group or non-profit can apply for clean-up funds through the Passaic County Department of Health. Acceptable cleanup efforts include: traditional trash and graffiti removal, the creation of murals to deter vandalism, stormwater catch basin cleanouts, curbside leaf and grass collection, replacement of old or faded signage for litter enforcement and trash receptacles for public spaces.

“The County of Passaic features a mix of urban, suburban, and rural areas, all of which have different litter abatement needs,” said Freeholder Assad Akhter. “The program does not prescribe methods and procedures that handcuff us in terms of what programs we can implement and fund. We are able to assess a site in need of a cleanup, and develop the most efficient action plan possible.”

Applications for litter mini-grants can be made available through the Passaic County Health Department. They can be contacted by calling 973-881-4396, or by emailing NinaS@PassaicCountyNJ.org.