By: Lynne Hart
Part 1 of a Series
In this country, 83% of people dispose of their trash properly, leaving 17% who dispose of trash in a way that creates litter. Litter cleanup costs the citizens of the United States over $11 BILLION annually! Those include local dollars. Think of what could be done with that money if it wasn’t being spent on picking up trash!
The presence of litter in a community takes a toll on quality of life, property values, and housing prices. Let’s face it, it is UGLY! Litter also has environmental consequences, with the potential for serious land and water contamination and injury to people and wildlife.
How can we reduce the littering statistics? Changing attitudes and behaviors is the key.
Keep America Beautiful works to deal with the root cause of the problem – littering behavior. Here are methods that create the greatest change in attitudes and influence behaviors:
- Education: It is important to have an understanding of why litter is harmful to a community. KALB visits every school in Athens and Limestone County to provide the facts children need to make decisions about their littering habits. Programs for adults are also available, and we welcome invitations to speak.
- Ordinances: There are local and state laws in place regarding littering and illegal dumping. KALB welcomes citizens to report illegal dump sites and witnessed acts of littering within Athens and Limestone County. Caller identification is kept confidential. Reports can be made through our website or by calling our office.
- Enforcement: KALB would like to see the crime of littering and illegal dumping taken more seriously. We understand it seems like a victimless crime; however, when the impact of litter is truly understood, it becomes a much more important issue.
- Tools and Resources: This includes ash receptacles, trash and recycling bins, litter grabbers, trash bags, and more. It also includes opportunities for community action. KALB helps to provide opportunities and the tools needed to get litter off our roadsides and public lands. Litter attracts litter and removing it discourages others from adding to it.
Our county is growing. We are seeing more businesses and manufacturing coming to our area. It is time to take a stand on this issue and make others aware of how we feel.
Make litter a part of your conversations as you travel with others. Speak with your city and county leaders about stronger enforcement of litter laws. Report illegal dumps and witnessed littering incidents to KALB. Share information and photos on social media. Invite others to join in our attack on trash throughout Limestone County on March 9.
Take a Stand. Get involved.
By: Lynne Hart
Executive Coordinator – Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful