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Governor McKee, First Lady Launch "Keep Rhody Litter Free" Campaign

RHODE ISLAND, April 22 - PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee was joined by First Lady Susan McKee, Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority CEO Scott Avedisian, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Acting Director Terry Gray, and Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful Director Donna Kaehler on Friday afternoon to kick off "Keep Rhody Litter Free," a year-round campaign designed to encourage state agencies, individuals, businesses, communities, schools and youth groups to join in the effort to eliminate litter in Rhode Island.

The kickoff announcement was held at the Route 44 Park and Ride in East Providence, where the Governor, First Lady, and state officials also joined together to participate in an Earth Day cleanup to remind Rhode Islanders about the importance of keeping the Ocean State clean and green.

"We're asking everyone to join in the effort to eliminate litter in Rhode Island," said First Lady Susan McKee, who will serve as the spokesperson for the Keep Rhody Litter Free campaign. "Everyone across our 39 cities and towns can do their part – even a small role can make a huge impact. Together, let's take the pledge to Keep Rhody Litter Free."

"Litter is costly to clean up, it impacts economic development, and eventually it ends up in the waterways and ocean of our beloved state," said Governor Dan McKee. "I thank our partners in the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, and Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful for promoting this campaign to keep our roads, parks, and beaches clean year-round."

"People visit from near and far to enjoy the beauty of our natural attractions like our parks and beaches," said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. "On this Earth Day, I encourage Rhode Islanders to take the pledge and help Keep Rhody Litter Free by joining one of the many clean-ups across our state led by exemplary community leaders."

"RIDOT spends almost $1 million every year picking up trash on our state roads. We would so much rather spend it on improving our bike paths, roads and bridges," said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti. "I am asking every Rhode Islander to get on board with the Governor's program to make our state litter free. Put your trash where it belongs – in your own garbage bag. So simple. So effective. So considerate. Thank you for your help."

"The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) wholeheartedly supports Governor McKee's vision for a clean, green and beautiful Rhode Island," said RIPTA Chief Executive Officer Scott Avedisian. "The Keep Rhody Litter Free initiative will help raise awareness about the negative impacts of littering, while reminding the public that we all have a role to play in protecting our planet. In an effort to reduce the need for paper and potential litter, RIPTA recently switched from its single-use paper fare system to Wave – a reloadable, reusable smart fare technology."

"DEM is very excited about the leadership and hard work that Governor McKee and the First Lady have done to mobilize a public-private partnership to minimize litter, which is a problem both on the land and in our waters throughout Rhode Island," said RIDEM Acting Director Terry Gray. "Stormwater runoff carries mindlessly discarded cigarette butts, plastic straws, soda bottles, and hundreds of thousands of other pieces of litter through storm drains, into creeks and rivers, and ultimately into Narragansett Bay, blighting everything along the way. We hope that the Keep Rhody Litter Free campaign raises Rhode Islanders' awareness to take personal responsibility and eliminate litter in our beautiful state."

For more information about Keep Rhody Litter Free, visit litterfree.ri.gov.

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