Cleaning up loose trash is one of the best ways to pitch in for your community and the environment.
The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday brings millions of Americans together for a day of national service. If you’re not sure how you can pitch in, consider a stroll around your block today to pick up litter. Here are five ways that picking up litter serves your community.
1. Keeping it beautiful: Litter is an eyesore, plain and simple. Studies show that litter can negatively impact your sense of community and safety. When others pass you as you pick up litter, smile and say hello. It shows pride in community and encourages others to do their part, too.
2. Protecting children: Litter can pose health and safety risks, especially to curious children who are more likely to pick items up. Make sure you put litter in a bag or a lined trash can, and not just loosely in an unlined one. Loose trash often winds up as litter again on trash collection day.
3. Keeping costs down: According to Keep America Beautiful, litter cleanups cost the U.S. $11.5 billion a year, and that figure doesn’t include indirect costs, such as decreased property values, commerce and tourism. These costs are shared by our government and by local businesses.
4. Preventing floods: Litter often makes its way to storm drains, where it can cause serious clogs that lead to flooding. Litter that does pass through the storm drain flows directly into nearby rivers and streams, polluting...beautiful waterways.
5. Protecting wildlife: Litter poses a threat to local wildlife when they confuse it for food or nesting materials. If litter gets into our local waterways, chances are it will eventually wind up in the ocean. Marine litter can be deadly to seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals.