Keep Our Mountains Beautiful (KOMB) recently renewed our application for our Adopt-A-Highway stretch of California State Highway 41 that goes through Coarsegold Village to near the Cal Fire Station south of town. Our first project this year will be in March (date to be determined) during the “Great American Cleanup-California” to welcome spring. We need volunteers to help with this activity picking up litter. All volunteers must attend a safety training class, which will be held Thursday, February 22 at 6:30 PM at Round Table Pizza in Oakhurst.
Volunteers must be at least 16 years old. This could be a great Scout or 4-H group project to provide community service. Participants will be provided with a hard hat, safety vest, eye wear, gloves, grabbers and bags. Training consists of a safety video, information regarding what to pick up and bag, what to move, and what to leave for Cal Trans, parking information the day of the cleanup, questions and answers.
Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s largest community improvement program, commissioned a study in 2009 called the National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study. Back then the cost to clean up litter nationwide was estimated at $11.5 billion (that’s billion with a B) a year! That cost has surely increased. This year, 2018, is the 20th year for the Great American Cleanup, a great year to help our neighborhood look beautiful.
Litter impacts the value of real estate, tourism revenues, and even affects health care costs. Litter carried by storm drains empties into local waterways and can contaminate the environment affecting wildlife and ecosystems.
About 15% of littering is prompted by existing litter. When people see a littered area, they think a little more won’t hurt, or that residents of the area don’t care and that it’s okay to add to the pile. It is not okay! Age and not gender is a predictor of littering behavior according to the National Visible Litter Survey; people under 30 are more likely to litter than older folks. Tobacco products are the most frequently littered items, accounting for about 38% of all U.S. roadway litter. The availability of ash receptacles and the amount of existing litter affect the littering rate. In our high fire area throwing cigarette butts out the window is extremely dangerous. If you smoke, please dispose of your cigarette butts responsibly.
Other frequently littered items include paper, beverage cups, napkins and tissues, plastic soda and water bottles, food wrappers, beverage cans, plastic bags and glass bottles. In rural areas trash receptacles aren’t as plentiful or as accessible as they are in the city and so trash is frequently thrown in the back of a truck. These items will most likely blow out and end up on the side of the road. To solve this problem, do not throw items in the truck bed—bag them up, tie the bag down in the back or keep it inside the cab and take home to dispose of appropriately.
Wouldn’t it be great to be so litter-free in our beautiful mountain community we wouldn’t need to do another “Great American Cleanup—California” day?
KOMB picks up litter throughout Eastern Madera County. Please join us on Thursday, February 22 at 6:30 PM, Round Table Pizza in Oakhurst for our regular meeting and Adopt-a-Highway training. We meet the fourth Thursday of even numbered months. Everyone is welcome. For more information, contact email@example.com, or Sandee Scott at (559) 760-1058.