By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a symbolic gesture for Earth Day:  the Philadelphia Streets Department cut the ribbon on a new trash dropoff center that will accept household waste, in hopes of keeping neighborhood streets free of trash that is illegally dumped on Philadelphia streets, a practice known to city officials as “short-dumping.”

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If opening a trash dump doesn’t seem like the best way to celebrate Earth Day, then you haven’t been fighting short-dumping.  Philadelphia streets commissioner David Perri has.

“We see this, in its humble way, as a part of Earth Day, in keeping the environment and the streets of Philadelphia cleaner,” Perri said at today’s dedication.

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The new “sanitation convenience center,” on 51st Street in West Philadelphia, just south of Grays Avenue, is the fifth such center in the city.

Deputy streets commissioner Donald Carlton says the idea is to make it as convenient to properly dispose of items such as tires and appliances as to illegally dump them.

“You see a difference, because individuals that wouldn’t even think about travelling distances now have center close by,” he noted.

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Carlton says the city hopes to open a sixth center, at Delaware Avenue and Wheatsheaf Lane, this summer.