Now that the temperatures have turned moderate and the snow has disappeared, the persistent issue Chillicothe has with litter is again highly visible.


Now that the temperatures have turned moderate and the snow has disappeared, the persistent issue Chillicothe has with litter is again highly visible.

Just one look in the grassy area between Fourth Street and Plaza Drive speckled with trash shows that our city has one big problem with litter.

There is hardly an area that does not bear witness to this problem.  

There is only one reason we have litter — personal behavior.

Everyone who litters or allows it to build up in their neighborhood or business is part of the problem.

Keep America Beautiful says more than 51 billion pieces of litter land on U.S. roadways each year, amounting to 6,729 items per mile. 

Progress has been made nationwide with litter.

Roadside litter has decreased by about 61 percent since 1969, but litter remains a persistent problem.

Litter cleanup, according to Keep America Beautiful, costs the U.S. almost $11.5 billion each year, with businesses paying $9.1 billion of the cost. 

Homeowners bear a cost.

The 2009 National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study found that litter in a community decreases property values by 7 percent.

According to Keep America Beautiful, once litter is on the ground, it attracts more litter.

“A clean community, by contrast, can discourage littering and improve community appearance and quality of life,” the Keep America Beautiful Web site says.

That makes sense.

It may not be fair to ask responsible Chillicotheans to pick up the litter others carelessly or callously throw, but it is in the best interest of those who pick it up.

Some of the offenders may be just one of the estimated 19,000 vehicles driving through our city on Fourth Street and do not care what our city looks like.

But we should — we want visitors to know we take pride in our community, especially on the highly visible streets that may be the only ones some visitors see.

Who else is going to make an impact on this issue?

As Keep America Beautiful says, “It takes just one person, one school, one business, one organization to positively impact the behavior of others in their community.”

There is already an army of people in Chillicothe who send a positive message about litter in Chillicothe. Some organizations and individuals already volunteer to pick up litter through the Adopt-A-Highway program.

But, that army is always in need of new recruits.

Join their ranks and you will make a difference.