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City joins national cleanup program


Baltimore hopes to reap a cleaner harbor and more money for its municipal coffers as it joins the Adopt-A-Waterway program, a fund-raising and cleanup initiative loosely modeled on more common adopt-a-highway efforts.

Unlike the hands-on highway programs that outfit volunteer trash-pickers with orange vests and garbage bags, Adopt-A-Waterway mostly involves recruiting corporate sponsors, whose donations will be used for city cleanup efforts and a privately run environmental education campaign. People who do want to get their hands dirty will be directed to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, whose existing cleanup program will be tied into the new initiative.

At the aquarium today, Mayor Martin O'Malley will announce that the city has entered into a partnership with Environmental Communication, the Manhattan Beach, Calif., company that started the waterways program. Under the deal, Environmental Communication recruits private companies to sponsor Adopt-A-Waterway signs to be posted around the city, at an annual cost of $3,600 to $4,800 per sign.

So far, the city has approved 100 signs.

Half of the proceeds will go to the city for storm-water cleanup projects. The other half will go to Environmental Communication, which will provide the signs as well as a public education campaign.

The education component will include television commercials with messages about such things as recycling and pollution, and a quarterly environmental magazine, which will probably be distributed free at City Hall, libraries and other locations, said Paul Polizzoto, president of Environmental Communication.

At least half of the 100 signs have been sold to corporate sponsors, including British Petroleum, Bank of America, Chesapeake Bay Roasting, Henrietta Development Corporation, and Phillips Foods and Seafood Restaurants, Polizzoto said. About a dozen cities in California, two New York counties, and Miami also have joined the program, which started about three years ago.

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