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Keep Liberty Beautiful: Littering and neglect for the poor, clueless souls

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POSTED: July 7, 2014 2:00 p.m.
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Litter hurts neighborhoods and affects economic development.

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Litter is a big deal for Keep Liberty Beautiful. We know how devastating out-of-control litter is for the quality of life of a community.
Litter cleanup is costly for everyone who pays taxes. Litter causes water pollution and harms natural resources, and it is detrimental to the animals that live in those natural resources.
Litter also hurts neighborhoods and affects economic development.
“Littered neighborhoods can result in property values being lowered by as much as 15 percent and often lead to more serious crimes, as noted in the Fixing Broken Windows Theory,” according to Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful’s website, www.gwinnettcb.org.
If minor symptoms of neighborhood neglect — such as broken windows, graffiti and litter — are left unattended, neighborhoods ultimately can fall victim to much more serious crimes that can affect property values and lead to a loss of quality of life for everyone in the neighborhood.
Careless and clueless people create litter.
“People generally litter when they don’t feel a sense of ownership of an area, like along roads, in parks and in abandoned areas,” according to Gwinnett’s website. “Research has shown that the most likely person to litter, regardless of race, income and education level, is a male between the ages of 18-25,” but littering is not limited to any age group, income level, gender or educational level. Unfortunately, clueless people exist in all of these groups.  
So, what do we do about it?  Here are some quick and easy ways to fight litter every day, courtesy of Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful:
• Keep a litter bag in your car and use it.
• Hang on to litter until you can dispose of it in a garbage receptacle. I am always suspicious of people with really clean car interiors.
• Report litterbugs, even the ones who act obliviously and let trash blow out of their truck beds. Heads up, folks: That truck bed is not a trash can. Over 60 percent of the litter on the roads came from blowing out of vehicles. That is an easy fix if we are not clueless.
• Make sure trash cans and recycle bins have tight-fitting lids. Tie off garbage bags tightly.
• Encourage others to properly dispose of trash.
• Encourage neighbors, clubs, coworkers and families to join together to adopt a neighborhood or street or join in an area cleanup, like KLB’s spring and fall cleanup events. Adopting an area significantly can reduce future litter because people litter less in maintained areas. Litterers also tend to litter less in areas that seem to be cared for by their neighbors. For more information about Adopt Liberty, the Great American Cleanup or Rivers Alive, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful.
• Look for ways to beautify the neighborhood and community, including landscaping and repairing fences. Attractive, maintained neighborhoods are littered less, and research shows that they are usually safer, too. Neat neighborhoods that do a cleanup or neighborhood beautification project each quarter are eligible for a recognition sign to display in their neighborhoods.
• Don’t forget the workplace and home bins. Provide containers with good lids for garbage and recycling bins.  Don’t share your garbage with your neighbors.
Of course, real change requires lots of people power — that includes you. Everybody can make a difference: men and women, youngsters and oldsters, individuals and families, nonprofit organizations and businesses.
If you want the community to be cleaner, prettier, healthier and safer, now is the time to do something about it.
Contact KLB if you are interested in doing your part and saying “yes” when someone calls for your help.  
Do you want to stop litter in its tracks? Then don’t be careless or clueless. Make a difference by getting involved.
For more information about these programs, call 880-4888 or email klcb@coastalnow.net. We are waiting to hear from you.

 

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