Proud to Be From Pittsburgh

Proud to be from Pittsburgh: DumpBusters

PITTSBURGH — Tired of seeing Pittsburgh’s wooded areas littered with debris, one man took matters into his owns hands and created a group now known as the DumpBusters.

“We have a very old-fashioned idea that Pittsburgh's woods should look like woods,” DumpBusters founder Joseph Divack said.

Divack and his DumpBusters are on a mission to uproot mounds of garbage growing on illegal dumpsites in Pittsburgh.

“This is our passion. This is what we're devoted to. This is something that's not everybody's cup of tea,” Divack said.

For one thing, it's hard work in often difficult terrain.

“(People are dumping) remodeling debris, lumber furniture, shingles, old toilets, old water heaters,” Divack said.

Divack founded DumpBusters, now part of Allegheny CleanWays, six years ago after getting fed up with the junk he saw littering empty lots and hillsides.

“I woke up one morning and said to my wife, ‘I'm gonna go clean up some areas … that have been bothering me for years,” he said.

DumpBusters volunteers have since cleaned up hundreds of illegal rubbish heaps in the city, moving an estimated 200 tons of garbage annually.

Hannah Grace and Dee Dee Grace of Munhall are regular volunteers.

“It’s actually quite satisfying. Some of the sites - particularly in the winter when the leaves are off - look absolutely horrible.  And then after a day or two, it's spotless.  Feels pretty good,” the Graces said.

While some sites eventually return to a dilapidated state, Divack said he doesn’t get discouraged because of data that points to his DumpBusters’ work making progress. Of the sites cleaned by the group, 85 percent of them stay clean.

“We think it's important to get it cleaned up, to improve neighborhoods and provide a nicer place for people to live, work and play,” Divack said.

Homeowners told Channel 11 News that they appreciate the group’s efforts.