I just had to write this after reading the article on Seattle ending their Litter Hotline due to budget cuts. The cost of operating the litter hotline is $50,000/year. Seattle’s population is 608, 8660 or about $6.00 a year per person.
DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY NEWS RELEASE — Beginning July 15, 2011 callers to Washington Department of Ecology’s “Litter and It Will Hurt” campaign hotline will hear a recorded message telling them that, due to state budget cuts, reports of witnessed littering events will no longer be accepted.
Ecology is suspending this service, which took litter violation reports from citizens and followed up by sending educational letters to the owners of vehicles from which the alleged littering took place.
Ecology’s Waste Reduction, Recycling and Litter Control Account, which funds the state’s litter prevention and cleanup activities, was reduced by $7 million for the 2011-13 biennial budget. The Waste Reduction, Recycling and Litter Control Account is a dedicated fund that’s main revenue source is a tax on industries whose products tend to contribute to the litter problem…. Source
Why am I upset, I don’t even live in Seattle. I receive about 5 emails a week asking where to report people that litter, it is that big of a problem across the USA. Litter costs money and personally speaking, I would pay the extra $6.00/ year to help control and catch people that litter in my city. Ending a hotline number is terrible, because where do people go to report chronic litterers and illegal dumping.
Just this week, I had an email from a person who just about had it with a contractor who consistently was illegally dumping his debris near a creek and by her backyard. She didn’t know where to report it. The problem is that illegally dumped junk will seep into the water, poisoning the water, attracting more illegal dumpers until guess what -it will end up cost taxpayers more than the $6.00/ year to clean up.
The solution of course is to end litter, but it takes about 1 day- 24 hours for litter to ‘regrow’ in my 1 mile street. 24 hours for the exact amount of litter to come back after I have picked it up. Cigarette butts, fast food wrappers, broken cell phones, shoes, toys clothing and food consistently show up day after day. It is a huge waste of time and human resources.