Litter is the most visible sign of pollution and is anything that is left where it is not meant to be. Litter is unsightly and dangerous. It can cause injury to people and wildlife. It encourages pest animals as well as the spread of germs and disease. Littering is about as un-eco-friendly as you can be. When a site is already littered, those who litter feel adding to it is “no big deal.”
It can be a big deal if you are seen littering by a police officer. Littering is a crime (Class A misdemeanor), and you can be fined up to $500, sent to jail for 12 months, or both. This applies to littering along highways or streets, in rivers or streams or on any public or private property.
Litter creates ugliness in public places including streets, parks and waterways and impacts real estate values. Litter can kill aquatic life and decrease oxygen levels when it decays in water. Most litter can be recycled, which not only protects the environment, it saves our natural resources. Littering and illegal dumping are a problem in virtually all areas of our community. Last year, more than 850 tons of litter was collected in Louisville Metro, and that’s only from organized clean-ups, street sweeps and similar activities.
Louisville Metro Government spends about $2 million dollars every year to clean up litter and trash, including:
- Making corrections officials available to supervise inmate crews on cleanup patrols.
- Providing support services for organized neighborhood cleanups including debris and trash bag collection, sidewalk sweeping and walk-behind vacuums.
- Removing illegal signs from right-of-ways including utility poles.
- Providing trash receptacles for downtown pedestrian traffic.
- Contracting to remove litter along highways and interstates.
- Educating the public on how litter impacts our community and changing behavior.
We can all do our part to help Louisville stay clean and green. We can make sure your trash is securely placed in the proper receptacle. We can recycle materials to save landfill space, energy and natural resources. We can carry a litterbag in your vehicle or bicycle. We can volunteer for community-wide cleanups such as the “Pre-Derby Cleanup” and Ohio River and creek sweeps throughout the year – and get involved in our own neighborhood.
As a community we can organize a cleanup and round up volunteers to help pickup litter. You can do this informally or officially adopt a “Green Mile” and have your organization listed on signage on the site. Businesses can start a recycling/waste reduction program, Adopt a Mile or along a state roadway, “Adopt A Highway”, educate employees by placing anti-litter articles in their newsletters or other corporate communications. Businesses can also make sure your dumpsters are closed and provide cigarette/litter receptacles at the entrance to your building.
You can even Report a litterer.
More resources: Litter bugs me
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