Most people wouldn’t throw trash on the ground in front of their house, so why would they throw it on the streets of their community? The more people litter, the more other people’s behavior changes, and they litter too. Let’s change that direction and make “clean parks” the trend.
This problem goes beyond our parks simply looking bad. Litter has negative impacts on the health of a park and the people who use it. Litter never stays where it’s dropped. A windy day or a heavy rain can move the litter around the city. It often ends up in our waterways or is eaten by wildlife or household pets.
Consider these ways in which litter impacts our parks and city.
Litter impacts our health.
Public parks have many health benefits for the people who use them, but litter in a park can cancel those out. Rather than promoting better physical health for the people who use it, litter actually increases levels of anxiety and depression. Food left behind also creates a food source for animals such as rats and other disease-carrying rodents.
Litter impacts the economy.
You may not see it in action, but people are out there cleaning up litter in the parks. Tax dollars and resources get spent on clean up, rather than on more useful improvements to the park. Home values in areas full of litter see a decrease in value of an average of 7%, and local businesses are affected too, as well as tourism.
Litter impacts safety.
Litter and graffiti are often the beginning of a slippery slope for crime and other anti-social behavior. Once a park starts to see these signs, fewer people are drawn to them, and it creates a space for unsavory activities.
It’s also important to broaden your idea of what litter is. Sure, it’s tossing that plastic water bottle into the gutter, but it’s also cigarette butts, and even the peel of your organic banana.
Please continue to put your trash in the receptacles found throughout the city and our parks, and if you can’t find one or it’s full, bring your trash home and dispose of it properly. Let’s work together to keep our parks clean!