NECOPA Northeast States Litter Scorecard (2011)


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Detailed info from 2011 American State Litter Scorecard on 11 Northeastern states, covering an area from Maryland to Maine and all states in between, with case study comparison of Vermont, Delaware, and Pennsylvania policies/handling of litter removals and related topical procedures.
Presented at the Northeastern Conference for Public Administration, New York City, October 2011.

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NECOPA Northeast States Litter Scorecard (2011)

  1. 1. The NECOPA Northeast States Litter Scorecard:Comparisons of 11 Northeastern States’ Litter Removal and Environmental Performances Steve Spacek [“The American State Litter Scorecard”] The 2nd Annual Northeastern Conference on Public Administration John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York City, New York USA Saturday. October 29, 2011
  2. 2. Litter Eradication/Abatement: A Source Reduction Activity that provides a healthy, enjoyable Surface Environment for BOTH humans and wildlife. Littering: Human throwing of small amounts of trash/garbage in small, individualized portions. Dumping is littering on a larger, voluminous scale. Both are environmental crimes creating dangers to public health, safety and welfare. *** Top Littered Items across NECoPA states: Cigarette Filter Butts, Paper/Food Packaging by Motorists, Pedestrians (sources: 2010 New England; 2008 KAB; 2004 NJ; 1990/1999 PA Litter Surveys) *** Environmental Injustice! Litter/Source Reduction Activities Among NECoPA States are UNEQUAL, UNJUST!!• The 11 NECOPA States are: Maryland, Maine, Delaware, New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island,Connecticut and New York.* Poor Litter Eradication has led to damaged scenic environments, breeding grounds for diseases, insects and rodents, wildlife devastation.In Good, Bad economic times, some states have accomplished “relatively little,” typically “piecemeal” to biased, almost non-existent approaches to litterprevention. Unremoved litter has a negative impact on property values, neighborhood/community attractiveness (sources: Forbes; Henning; 2008 KAB;Spacek).* In 2008, approximately 100 PERSONS within the 11 – member NECOPA states died as result of traffic accidents caused by movable debris/litteringalong public roadways; 46 deaths (one-half of total) were in Pennsylvania alone! (source: NHTSA).* States Lack Efforts to collect uniform litter abatement data for research and public comparisons (i.e. volumes of waste collected by mileage/location,budget funding sources/expenditures; number of required annual/seasonal cleanups; performance standard surveys; numbers of persons cited/prosecutedfor infractions). Northeast jurisdictions often lack public performance measures already common in economically/politically-competing Western andSouthern States [sources: Bullard; Cochran, A.; Spacek].
  3. 3. Humans CAUSE Littering and Dumping!Reasons to Litter:Litter Begets Litter; Apathy; Inconvenience; Community Attitudes; Entitlement; Class Alienation, Greed/Ignorance (sources: Bisbort; City Image; Henning;McAndrew; Ockles; U.S Justice—National Law).Governmental Neglect:Indifferent perceptions, unenforcement by Public Officials, Police, Prosecutors, Courts. Citizens in some NECoPA jurisdictions cause persistentdumping/littering problems, disrespect for needed abatement expenditures and cleanup efforts (sources: Ockles; Spacek, U.S. Justice-Environmental; U.S.Justice-National-Law).State Political/Environmental Cultures:Moralistic (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut): Public sector intervention to meet civilian goals.Individualistic (New Jersey, Pennsylvania): Marketplace rules but some public sector intervention as warranted.Mixed Moralistic/Individualistic: (New York, Massachusetts).Traditionalistic (Delaware, Maryland): Little or no government intrusion. Elites (i.e. wealthy, propertied Democrats) are political players--“*Most+ non-reception in fostering ecological improvements.” Strongest support for environmental maintenance/progress historically comes from New England states(sources: Elazar; Koven and Mausloff; Neal; Spacek; Vig and Kraft).USA Profiled Deliberate Litterer:16-24 year-old males, based on findings from over 70 U.S. state litter surveys last 30+ years, are most prone to litter (sources: 2008 KAB; 2010 New England).
  4. 4. Litter/Dumping Source Reduction Activities:→ Physical-Actual Litter/Debris Removals on public spaces by DOT employees, hired contractors, mandated correctional crews or community service, drunk drivers,work furloughs, juveniles/youth litter corps, volunteers, non-profit organizations-Adopt-a-Highway/Road/Street/Trails Programs (NONE in: Vermont)-Statewide Anti-litter Slogans/Campaigns (NONE in: Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Vermont)-Environmental Organizations: Keep America Beautiful, Adopt–a-Highway found in most NECOPA states-Beverage Container Deposits (NONE in: Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Hampshire)-Comprehensive Recycling (NONE in: New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont)→ Legal-Litter Laws/Statutes-All NECOPA states have anti-litter Laws-Litter Taxation (New Jersey, Rhode Island)-Litter Reporting Hotlines/Websites (Pennsylvania has Litter Bug Hotline;; Writing: History of Inopportunity and Weak/No Enforcement by Police-Court Prosecutions—Largest Violators Taken Down!-Punishment: Often Settled Out of Court but STILL no real Jail Time!!!
  5. 5. The American State Litter Scorecard: Methodology Policymakers, administrators, organizations, citizens alike interested in effectual public outcomes. The SCORECARD measures 50 states, including the 11 NECoPA jurisdictions, for their overall environmental quality through public spaces cleanliness efforts and related environmental performances. Unit of Analysis: Fifty American States (District of Columbia and Territories/Possessions are NOT states) Data Source Providers: Governments; Academicians; Trade Organizations; Think Tanks; Associations— regularly used in competent scholarly research Scoring Rubric:Created to score each objective, subjective indicator. Aggregated by state, then summative calculations to derive a total score. “Top (BEST) to Bottom (WORST)” Hierarchal rankings, National Designations derived from computations
  6. 6. The American State Litter Scorecard: Indicators Objective: * States with Litter Taxation * States with Container Deposit Rules/Legislation * States with Comprehensive Recycling Rules/Legislation * States with Litter Prevention Slogans * Per Person Overall State Environmental Expenditure * Per Person Daily Waste Disposal by State* States with Highest Chance for Debris-related Fatal Vehicle Collision * Integrity of State Thoroughfare Maintenance Disbursement Costs * State Public Corruption Convictions per Population Proportion Subjective: * Environmental Responsibility Reputation of State Governors* State Licensed Drivers Knowledge of Littering and other Road Laws
  7. 7. “Scorecard” Summary: NECOPA, Nearby and Selected States State Total Score Nat’l Designation Negative Performance Remarks DE +8.5 BELOW AVERAGE 1, 2, 3, 9 PA +12.0 AVERAGE Philadelphia: “#2 DIRTIEST CITY”; 2, 3, 4 NJ + 15.0 ABOVE AVERAGE Severe Urban Littering; 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 MA +15.0 ABOVE AVERAGE 6, 7, 8 MD +15.5 ABOVE AVERAGE Baltimore: “#6 DIRTIEST CITY”; 4, 6, 7 NY +16.5 BEST New York: “#5 DIRTIEST CITY”; 6, 7, 8 NH +17.0 BEST 4, 6, 8 VT +18.5 BEST 5, 8 RI +19.0 BEST 4, 6, 7 CT +19.5 BEST Severe Urban Littering; 5, 6, 7 ME +20.5 BEST 5, 6 VA +12.5 AVERAGE OH +12.0 AVERAGE FL +14.5 ABOVE AVERAGE IL +6.5 WORST TX +7.5 WORST CA +23.0 BEST NV +5.0 WORST WA +26.0 BEST KY +0.0 WORST(NECoPA States in Bold)Remarks:1-High Per Capita Waste Disposals 2- High Litter/Debris Crash Deaths 3- High Public Servant Corruption Convictions 4-No Container Deposits5-No Anti-Litter Slogan 6-Poor Highway Maintenance Integrity 7-Poor Driver Knowledge Litter Laws 8-No Comprehensive Recycling9-Designation Decline From 2008 (sources: Spacek, 2011 TRAVEL+LEISURE).
  8. 8. “Scorecard’s” National Designations: NECOPA StatesORANGE-”Below Average”; YELLOW-”Average”; LIGHT GREEN-”Above Average”; DARK GREEN-”Best” [Pictured left to right, from Northernmost Maine (→) to Southernmost Delaware/Maryland]
  9. 9. NECOPA States Urban Littering/Dumping “Belt” Hartford County, Connecticut to Prince Georges County, MarylandNotable Affected Governments (in Red): Philadelphia County, New York City’s 5 Counties, Baltimore City. Additional Problem Counties (in Yellow) (sources: Reports/Observations; Spacek; 2011 Travel+Leisure)
  10. 10. Case Study: Three NECOPA States Approaches to Litter Source Reduction--Delaware vs. Pennsylvania vs. Vermont DE PA VTPOPULATION (2010) 891, 495 12, 702, 379 625,741ANTI-LITTER/ENVIRONMENTALAGENCIES DELDOT PENNDOT VTRANS DDNREC PENN DEP VANRLITTER REMOVAL EXPENDITURES,MOST RECENT ANNUAL PERIOD n/a $8.729 Million $625,000TOTAL VOLUMES COLLECTED,MOST RECENT ANNUAL PERIOD 50,821 Bags (30-gal) n/a 220 tonsPROMINENT PROGRAMS Adopt –a- Highway Adopt-a Highway NO Adopt-a Highway Imagine Litter-Free Delaware Clean-Up Day PA Cleanways Others: n/a Litter BrigadesTIMES PUBLIC PROPERTIESCLEANED ANNUALLY “Daily, Monday-Friday” “As needed, when available” “Once yearly (Spring); large items:constantly” No Official Cleanliness Measure Standard No Official Cleanliness Measure Standard No Official Cleanliness MeasureStandard “An alternate activity when other scheduled projects delayed”NUMBER SPECIFICANTI-LITTER STATUTES 1 6 1MAX FINANCIAL FINEPER VIOLATION $287.50 $900 $500DEBRIS/LITTER VEHICLECRASH DEATHS (2008) 4 46 1“SCORECARD” NATIONALDESIGNATION (2011) Below Average Average Best(sources: Confidential Officials Communications; Spacek; State Agencies and respective websites; U.S. Census-2010)
  11. 11. Conclusion Budget shortfalls ARE hampering short term litter abatements procedures in all eleven NECoPA States. Last 20+ years, polls (Gallup) show majority of American feel “public sector not working enough to protect the environment. Littering/Dumping still remains danger to public safety, health and welfare, while hurting economic development and corporate job relocations. Some NECOPA states choose to engage in poor litter abatements, in good OR and bad economic times; some doing double standard litter removal procedures based on population density (and political preferences/accommodations) to a “preferred” local jurisdiction (rural areas appear cleaner than urban ones). Recommendations for NECOPA States--More waste receptacles/bins along sidewalks in Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore and high-littered urban jurisdictions.--Stronger, increased police/sheriff enforcement and prosecution with existing litter-dumping laws. Crack down on urban male gang littering inprominent cities .--Implement more state/local litter reporting hotlines--Summarize state litter/dumping laws and fines inside Licensed Drivers handbooks in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland,Connecticut and Rhode Island.--Vastly improve state highway maintenance routines in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, Maine and Rhode Island.--Adopt Container Deposits legislation in PA, NJ, MD, NH and RI; Comprehensive Recycling in NY, MA, NH and VT.--Reduce HIGH litter/debris accident fatalities across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.--Adopt proven, litter reducing Litter Slogan Campaigns in the States of New Jersey and Connecticut.--Increase access to reliable, uniform government litter abatement data and true outcome measures for facilitating research comparisons.--Six member states are prime candidates for a comprehensive litter study: Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, andIn Rhode Island. See “The American State Litter Scorecard” website by Bellstrike, for more details