IS THE LITTER INDEX ENOUGH?
Philadelphia Has a Legendary Trash Problem. How is the City Tracking and Cleaning it Up?
Reality Check | WURD radio Special to ecoWURD
The City of Philadelphia recently released its highly anticipated and annual updated “Litter Index.” Zero Waste and Litter Director Nic Esposito talked with Charles Ellison, host of ecoWURD radio on WURD’s Reality Check, about the Litter Index and how that both informs and directs citywide efforts to clean up trash in Philly.
Philly still has an enormous trash problem: it’s ranked among the top dirtiest cities in the country and City Council just passed legislation in 2018 that aggressively targets notorious trash corridors while vigorously combating individual and commercial dumping. The Litter Index is a multi-agency effort that not only tracks the trash, but is used to carry out cleaning and enforcement efforts.
“It’s an annual litter index that takes five different departments to have staff go out into the field and conduct litter surveys throughout all these public assets,” said Esposito. “If it’s a really bad dump, we can actually generate a ticket and enforce on the spot. We can’t just look at something and leave it there.”
“This is not an easy conversation, but we have to have it. There’s a lot of misconceptions around litter and where it comes from. So, we need a data set like the litter index to assess and confirm that. We’re really seeing a lot of success with community groups, as well.”