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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mother Earth to Durham: Pick up your trash

Posted by on Tue, Mar 9, 2010 at 3:23 PM

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Ahh, the first signs of spring as the snow melts away: Daffodils, crocuses—and trash.

According to a recent survey, Durham has fewer “extremely littered” streets than it used to, but more of its streets are “littered.”

The annual survey, known as the Litter Index (28kb, pdf) [litter-index-2009-graph] is sponsored by Keep Durham Beautiful.

Last month, volunteers surveyed select streets within a one-mile radius of City Hall and gauged the amount and type of trash on them.

The percentage of littered streets rose from roughly 7 percent last year to 20 percent this year. And the percentage of streets that had no litter dipped from 39 percent last year to just one-quarter in 2010.

Dorothea Pierce, executive director of Keep Durham Beautiful, said there could be several reasons for the increase in littered streets, including this year’s wet and windy winter weather.

“Bad weather that moves things around,” Pierce said. “Flooding and wind: Wind is a horrendous litter mover.”

The good news: There were virtually no “extremely littered” streets—the amount of litter that would require a truck to haul it away.

Updated March 14, 12:37 pm:

Pierce added this information in an e-mail to the Indy:

The Litter Index covers all of Durham, all of the City and all of the County – we obviously don’t survey each road but there is a representative sampling from all over and every type of street: industrial, commercial, residential, agricultural, and a circle that includes an area that is centered on the city hall.  These roads where chosen at random within those five parameters and we survey the same streets over a minimum of a three year span, so we have continuity.  The Litter Index results portray for us a representative sampling of the overall litter picture.  This same process is done by over 500 Keep America Beautiful affiliates from all around the country.

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