The Cleaning Movement in Baltimore City

| March 26, 2013 | 9 Comments

If you’ve ever spent any time in the Midwest, you’ll realize that Baltimore has a long way to go if it wants to be one of the cleanest cities in America.  Baltimore has suffered from years of mistreatment from all kinds of different sources of litter and is even the reigning 3rd Dirtiest City in America according to Travel and Leisure.

Organizations like the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore have upped their efforts to keep downtown and the waterfront clean. Many streets in Federal Hill and South Baltimore also benefit from a Department of Public Works’ street sweeper who came to the area a couple years ago.  Mayor Rawlings-Blake has also organized yearly cleaning competitions, as well as the upcoming April 20th Spring Cleanup.

However, the city still has plenty of problems with trash and litter on streets, vacant lots, parks, medians parking lots, etc. that go beyond our business districts and many times end up in our ecosystem.  Several movements are in the works to fight  this problem in Baltimore City and I’ve spent a good amount of time with these organizations the last few days to learn more about them, lend a helping hand and promote their cause to our audience.

On Saturday, I spent some time with Zero Litter in a cleanup in Pigtown Main Street.  More than 20 volunteers from Pigtown, Hampden, Bolton Hill, SoBo and even Washington, DC got together to clean up the business district of Pigtown.  After two-and-a-half hours, a truck full of litter was removed from the streets, flower pots, alleys and vacant lots and the area was much cleaner than when they started.

If you aren’t familiar with Zero Litter then you should definitely follow what they are doing.  Founder George L. Peters started the foundation with a lofty goal of making Baltimore the cleanest city in America through cleanups and education.  Zero Litter has partnered with several community organizations such as Hollins Roundhouse and Pigtown Main Street to organize mass cleanups and has even started “Trash Mobs,” which are a 30-minute mass cleanup of a city lot.

Zero Litter has a busy schedule ahead filled with cleanups and they are in talks with several local corporations to help make Zero Litter a huge force in the cleaning of Baltimore City. “Cleaning up is definitely the first step in bringing a neighborhood back.  Once you start to have a neighborhood that people feel safe in and like being in, it makes world of difference,” said Peters.

Last night I got a chance to meet with One Piece South Baltimore, which is another movement to make the South Peninsula as clean as possible.  One Piece was started by District 7 Councilman Nick J. Mosby and has the motto of, “Take the pledge to pick up one piece of trash a day! Together we can clean Baltimore’s streets and waterways! You can make a difference!”

Councilman Cole helped to bring the initiative to South Baltimore and a crew of volunteers will soon launch the movement with a cleaning and an effort to get as many people as possible to sign the pledge to pick up one piece of trash a day.  We’ll let you soon about that date and when you can sign the pledge.

I’m also hearing about – and have good authority to report on – a cleanup competition in May hosted by local website that covers “All Things South Baltimore,” and a sponsoring local bar, called the 2nd annual Weed Pulling Competition. More details to come!

While Baltimore has a long way to go to become one of the cleanest cities nationwide, I’m very confident that the great residents are working hard to make that a reality sooner than later.

Before and After Shot from Pigtown Main Street


Video from the Hollin Market Cleanup with Zero Litter



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About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.