Local Smyrna residents might have noticed some funny billboards popping up in the last few months. My personal favorite compares littering to “networking at a funeral.” So glaringly wrong, it gets your attention. And it’s supposed to!
Who is behind the littering campaign? Keep Smyrna Beautiful (KSB) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help the public become more aware and concerned about environmental issues. KSB is funded by the City of Smyrna, recycling revenues, and private contributions which all help the organization host community events, manage recycling programs, and sponsor outreach programs like providing private ashtrays to help smokers dispose of their butts properly. The Keep Smyrna Beautiful Program and volunteers continue to win awards, year after year.
A member of the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) system, KSB has joined in a litter prevention campaign to help increase the awareness of the problem of litter. Under the leadership of Keith Bentley, KSB will be using banners, volunteers at events, t-shirts, and other give-aways to promote the campaign. It links littering with other undeniable – and often humorous—wrongdoings, such as “networking at a funeral,” “breaking up on Valentine’s Day,” or “giving a kid sugar at bedtime.”
Why should you care? If you are own a house and want it to maintain any value it has, you should care. KAB’s 2009 National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study found that litter in a community decreases property values 7 percent. Now more than ever, that’s a definite reason to care! If you shop locally, pay taxes, or own a local business, you should also care. Litter cleanup costs the U.S. almost $11.5 billion each year, with businesses paying $9.1 billion. Governments, schools, and other organizations pick up the remainder. The presence of litter in a community takes a significant toll on the quality of life, property values, and housing prices.
What can you do? Spreading the word is easy. On the website www.LitteringIsWrongToo.org, visitors can share their own “wrongs,” including uploading photos and videos which will help generate more buzz for the problem of litter. People can also take part via the campaign’s Facebook page and on Twitter. Locally, you can check out KAB’s facebook page for local news and events. You can also volunteer by contacting the Keep Smyrna Beautiful Office by phone at (770) 431-2863 or email KAB at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.