Marion County is experiencing increasing litter along roadways and in recreation areas.
A Styrofoam cup here and a plastic bottle there can have huge impacts on the community. Reducing our litter is a community effort and doing so increases safety, saves money, and preserves the splendor of our local water bodies.
Loose trash from roadways and illegal dumpsites largely ends up in our local stormwater systems. These systems are designed to divert and store rainwater to prevent flooding in urban areas. Accumulating trash can impede water flow and make these systems less effective. This leads to roadways, houses, and businesses flooding during heavy precipitation events.
It has been estimated that removing debris from stormwater systems, street sweeping, and other litter removal has cost the county over $900,000 in 2020.
Aside from reducing the beauty of our waterbodies, trash in these ecosystems leaches harmful chemicals, microplastics, and other contaminants into the environment.
Do your part: Source Reduction
Source Reduction means reducing waste at the source and happens to be the cheapest and most effective strategy that everyone can utilize. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Always consider product packaging when making purchasing decisions. Supporting producers that choose to sell products in compostable or recyclable packaging is a great way to start. Additionally, consumers can also choose to buy in bulk, recycle packaging, buy local goods (support our farmers!), carry reusable water bottles, and carry reusable grocery bags.
Additional practices for reducing litter and protecting stormwater systems:
- Never pour or dump anything down a storm drain
- Keep loose trash out of truck beds and trailers covered
- Dispose of trash properly, make use of Marion County’s free Recycling Centers!
- Keep lawn clippings and other yard debris away from storm drains
- Apply lawn and garden chemicals sparingly and according to directions
- Recycle More, Recycle Right
- Participate in the Adopt-a-Road program
- Coordinate a community cleanup event
- Report litterbugs and illegal dumpsites to the Marion County Solid Waste Department at (352) 671-8465
Finally, challenge those around you to do the same!