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Cost of Litter In Georgia
- In Georgia it costs $90 million annually to throw away 2.6 million tons of cans, bottles and newspapers that are collected and moved to Georgia landfills. Those items would have an estimated market value of $300 million if they were recycled.
- The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) spends about $17 million annually (2003) to clean up roadside trash in the state, and local governments spends hundreds of thousands more dollars to keep litter off of 96,818 miles of locally- maintained roads. This does not include what local governments, other state agencies and community organizations are spending.
- That number translates to $20,400,000 Million in 2008 Taxpayer Dollars or about $2,500 per person in taxes.
- As more and more cars and trucks travel Georgia’s state highways and interstates, the cost to keep them clean increases by approximately 20 percent each year.
- Georgia DOT expends nearly $3 million annually in litter pick-up in metro Atlanta alone.
- GDOT is currently responsible for maintaining 18,000 center lane state route miles and 5,000 interstate shoulder miles.
- About 223 GDOT routine maintenance crews, 59 prison crews, weekend probationers (logging more than 10,600 hours) and more than 260 volunteer Adopt-A-Highway organizations regularly pick up litter.
- The Georgia DOT participated in the Great American Clean-Up over a one-week period in April 2003. During that time, crews dedicated 60,000 hours picking up 107,631 bags of litter statewide, at a cost of $900,000.
- More than 400 organizations are currently active in Georgia’s Adopt-A-Highway program. These groups pick up trash on about 550 miles of Georgia’s highways and interstates.
- Costs for treating water from Lake Lanier to drinking water standards can range from $43 to $129 per million gallons.
- 2000-Savannah, GA- KAB -Their efforts resulted in tagging 503 derelict vehicles and towing 73. They removed 200 tons of litter and debris. Their clean up efforts reduced the number of crack houses and open-air drug markets in one neighborhood by 79%. In another, it was reduced by 67%.
- 824 hours worked resulting in a $4,532 cost reduction to taxpayers. Litter along roadways removed and illegal dumping sites cleaned. Keep Hall Beautiful
- Last year The Great American Clean Up in Dawson County involved over 200 man-hours, removed approximately 670 pounds of litter, recycled over 250 pounds of phone books and beautified nearly 14 miles of shoreline, (2008)
Trash Troopers- call 404.330.6333.
- In 2005, Troopers removed 629,160 tons of debris; cleared 466 illegal dump sites; cleaned and manicured over 27 million city right-of-ways; and removed 6,316 illegally dumped tires.
Fines and Penalties
- There are currently 11 Litter Control Laws in Georgia. Those convicted on littering faces fines up to $1,000 and can be ordered to pick up litter themselves.
- Anyone caught littering in Georgia can be charged with a misdemeanor and, if found guilty, can be punished by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000. The law also allows the court to direct the violator to clean up the littered area and to publish the violator’s name in the newspaper.
- Anyone caught illegally dumping less than 500 pounds of waste can be charged with a misdemeanor and can be fined accordingly. Each day a continuing violation occurs is considered a separate violation. Dumping more than 500 pounds is considered a misdemeanor on the first offense. A second conviction is a felony. The penalty for a second conviction is a fine of up to $25,000 or a prison sentence of up to two years (or both).
- Anyone caught illegally dumping biomedical or hazardous waste, or dumping for commercial purposes, can be found guilty of a felony. If convicted, the violator can be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to two years in prison.
SWEEP Successes from Litter It Costs You
- By mid-2006 1,136 SWEEP tickets have been issued for 1,391 violations. SWEEP officers have written 93 percent of these tickets. The City has received $53,757 in ticket revenue since the June 2005 start-up of the program, and the SWEEP program has saved the District Magisterial Judges from hearing over 2,000 cases per year. Ann Saurman, Program Manger, stresses the importance of meeting with or sending information to judges to stress the importance of illegal dumping and littering issues.
- Illegal dumping not only detracts from the natural beauty of the area, it can cause health risks and can deposit toxins in the soil. Illegal dumping also costs taxpayer dollars. One recently discovered dump site in Chattahoochee Hills held more than 2,000 scrap tires, costing the city nearly $3,000 in disposal costs (approximately $1.50 per tire), not including man hours.
- Savannah has cleaned up about 220 illegal dump sites since January, said John Denion, residential refuse collections director for Savannah. (Jan 2008- July 2008)
- To report illegal dumping in Montgomery County, please contact the Middle Georgia Regional Office at 912-751-6612. You can write to them at 2640 Shurling Drive Macon, GA 31708
- The City of Griffin Stormwater Department has recently set up an Environmental Hotline so the citizens of Griffin will be able to call and report environmental issues. The Hotline should be used to report illegal dumping of materials; watering violations; blowing of grass clippings or leaves into a street, a storm drain, a creek or other similar concerns. The Hotline is a 24 hour a day recording system giving callers the opportunity to stay anonymous or leave their name and telephone number if they wish to be contacted about their reported problem. The City of Griffin would like to ask for the help of all of our citizens in protecting our environment. To report environmental issues please call 770-229-6625, or visit the Stormwater Department’s Reporting Problems page at:www.griffinstorm.com/all/reportingproblems.htm
- Bring One for the Chipper- Annual Christmas Tree Recycling-ince the program’s inception, over 4.5 million Christmas trees have been recycled across the state
- If you’d like more information on Litter Awareness, please contact Keep Georgia Beautiful at (404) 679-4910.
- For information on Adopt-A-Highway, call the Georgia Department of Transportation at (404) 656-5269.
- For information on Adopt-A-Stream, call the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division at (404) 656-0099 or (404) 656-0069
Department of Natural Resources: Coastal Division
The Coastal Resources Division (CRD) has primary responsibility for managing Georgia’s marshes, beaches, and marine fishery resources. Based in Brunswick, the division administers permitting programs under the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act and Shore Protection Act and has primary responsibility for implementing the Protection of Tidewater/Right of Passage Acts.
Department of Natural Resources: Environmental Protection
The Environmental Protection Division (EPD) protects Georgia’s air, land and water resources through the authority of state and federal environmental statutes. These laws regulate public and private facilities in the areas of air quality, water quality, hazardous waste, water supply, solid waste, surface mining, underground storage tanks, and others. EPD issues and enforces all state permits in these areas and has full delegation for federal environmental permits except Section 404 (wetland) permits.
Department of Natural Resources: Water Conservation
The mission of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Water Conservation Program is to promote the long-term efficient use of Georgia’s water resources throughout the state.
Department of Natural Resources: Wildlife Resources Division
The Wildlife Resources Division is responsible for regulating and managing Georgia’s wildlife resources. It issues fishing and hunting licenses and oversees boat registration. Other programs include the Natural Heritage Program and the Non-Game Endangered Wildlife Program.
Environmental Contact Numbers
For a complete, issue-referenced list of who to call for a whole array of environmental problems look here at EPD’s Quick-Look guide or call the EPD Customer Assistance Program at 1-888-373-5947
Georgia Water Wise Council
The Georgia Water Wise council is a partnership of government, education, business and citizen entities with the purpose of promoting water conservation education programs. The Council offers educational workshops and educational materials, including the Georgia Xeriscape Guide and the Water Sourcebook for students.
The Clean Air Campaign
The Clean Air Campaign is a nonprofit organization that works to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in Georgia. It provides programs and services to commuters, employers and schools, including: financial incentives to encourage clean commuting; worksite program development; Smog Alert notifications; and air quality lesson plans for grades 4-8. For more information, call 1-877-CLEANAIR or visit www.cleanaircampaign.com
The Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia
The Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia (EEA) is a professional education and networking association. Its mission is to serve as a self-governed, non-profit organization that promotes communication and education among professionals in the field of environmental education. As an affiliate of the North American Association for Environmental Education, EEA works to promote environmental education by providing opportunities for member organizations, schools, and the general public to get involved through the annual EEA conference, member newsletter, environmental events posted on its website, and teacher resource directory. To learn more about EEA, its member organizations and environmental events you can participate by visiting their site at www.eealliance.org.