Litter…Elsewhere

By: Michelle Watson

In writing my last assignment for this class about the amount of litter found in Bayou Manchac and Bayou fountain, I found that Louisiana was ranked in the top 10 dirtiest states in America. But what seemed to be even worse for me was that Georgia was in the top list as well along with New York, my home state

While it is not a stretch that New York has a ridiculous amount of litter, it was very surprising to find out that Georgia had a considerable amount of litter as well. Maybe this was surprising to me because where I live in Georgia there is not much litter. In fact in 2005, Georgia passed a law that prohibited smoking in public places, because of this there’s not much cigarette bud litter or tobacco related litter.

While it baffles me that Georgia produces so much litter, it does not baffle me that New York does. In a city with a ton of people walking around, no wonder there’s a considerable amount of litter. Same goes for Louisiana, particularly New Orleans. New Orleans has a considerable amount of litter because of the amount of people that come to visit and come to party. So I looked around and tried to figure out why certain cities had more litter than others.

It turned out that most cities with a lot of litter have a big tourism industry (like New Orleans, New York, or Atlanta) and, that these cities had a higher population of young people living in them.  Young people living in big cities – Go figure!

So what does this mean? Does it mean that younger people are opposed to cleaning up more than older people. I for one, do not consider myself one of those young people. On top of that, the question is where is all of this litter coming from and why don’t people care about it ? Keeping America Beautiful Inc. found three reasons that most people litter:

  • They don’t have to clean it up
  • It’s not their property
  • If there is litter already there, people are more likely to contribute to the already growing mass of trash.

What a lot of people don’t tend to realize, specifically young people is that cleaning up that litter is coming out of your pocket.  GreenEcoService.com found that in 2003 17 million taxpayer dollars were used to clean up roadside trash in Georgia. In Louisiana, 15 million taxpayer dollars were used. To find out about other states you can look on their website.

If people really knew how much they spent on litter that left after tailgating on LSU’s campus, or even more ridiculous, the litter that they throw out of their car window, maybe they wouldn’t do it anymore. Until then states will have to use our hard earned cash to continue to clean up what is already ours.

To make it simple, pick up your trash.

 

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