Why Are We Still Talking About Litter?

2-5-2016 4-32-39 PMBefore I get into the topic of this article, I would first like to share KALB’s belief that a healthy environment is of great importance to all. We believe that people inherently understand the value of and care about a healthy environment. Every educational program, every project, every volunteer opportunity, and every means of sharing information is in place because of these beliefs.

Now, on to the topic of litter. I hate that we still have to talk about it because littering is still a problem. Then I remind myself that there are people out there that may not have the facts necessary to make a good, educated decision about littering. There are others who agree that litter is a problem, but aren’t sure how they can help.

Sadly, there will always be a small portion of people that will never change their mindset. That will never stop us from reaching out to young and old with information and opportunities. My hope is increased when I speak with our youngest students who seem to already understand that littering is wrong — and you should hear them tattle on their parents!

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My dog, Annie, and I enjoyed the recent warm temperatures by going for long walks. It is amazing what can be seen when walking that would be missed when driving by. The photos on this page are just an example of what Annie and I passed by on a recent walk. I didn’t have a litter grabber and a trash bag with me; however, Annie and I went back the next day to pick it up. In case you are wondering, I always have a bag with me in case Annie leaves a “present” along the way. I will add a litter grabber and trash bag to my dog-walking gear as often as possible from here on out.

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The following facts about litter are for those who are still unaware and for those that would like to share this information with others:

The Cost of Litter is Substantial

More than $11.5 billion is spent each year nationwide, with businesses paying a huge portion of that amount, and state and local governments, schools, and other organizations picking up the rest of the cost. All of these costs are undoubtedly passed down to consumers and taxpayers.

There are also indirect costs that we don’t often think about. Keep America Beautiful conducted an in-depth study and determined the following: it is estimated that the presence of litter in a community decreases property values by 7% — $7,000 on a $100,000 property; 93% of homeowners said a littered neighborhood would influence their desire to purchase a property; 36% of business development officials said that litter impacts a decision to locate to a community, jeopardizing the possibility of new jobs in that area. Litter can also cause lost tourism revenues, vehicle repairs, fires, and injuries.

Litter Has Costly Environmental Consequences

All living things rely on a healthy environment to survive. When we litter, we can damage ecosystems which must be restored, cause injury to humans and wildlife, and eventually these things will pose a threat to human health. Litter is carried by wind, animals, and rain into storm drains and local waterways, including the Elk River which is our source for drinking water. It doesn’t matter how far you live from the river, litter can travel many, many miles!

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Get Involved!

If you would like to stand up and take some responsibility for your neighborhood, we can help by supplying you with some trash bags and a litter grabber. Invite neighbors to join you in the effort and we’ll provide supplies for them, too! Organize a group to join the Adopt-A-Spot program. There are rewards connected with this program that can benefit local non-profits and organizations. Take a stand against a littered community and be an example to others.

We have a no-pressure guarantee that you can contact us with your questions about this and other issues. You’ll receive answers without obligation. That’s our promise.
By: Lynne Hart