By Holly Lynne Killian
For The Birmingham Times
“Littering is stupid! Be a litter quitter!” This is the blunt but honest message that the Litter Quitters Committee is hoping to leave with Jefferson County high school students and its citizens. Now in its fifth year, the committee aims to educate students and citizens about the negative effects of litter while also empowering students to become more actively involved in clean water promotion.
Based on a Keep America Beautiful study, the most frequent culprits of littering are young adults aged 18 to 35. This demographic is three times more likely to litter than older adults. That is why the committee focuses their attention on high school students, stopping bad habits before they are formed.
As part as the Litter Quitters Campaign, the committee hosts a video competition allowing students to become change agents by creating an anti-litter video message. Each participating school submits one video into the public competition that runs for 12 days. The county is split into three competition zones based on watersheds.
The videos with the most “likes” win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each of the three watershed zones. Given all the continued complications with COVID, the Committee was pleased that some schools were able to submit videos for this year’s competition and also participate in the media campaign.
“It is always fun to see how creative the students can be from year to year. It makes for an intense competition!” says Hana Berres, Litter Quitters committee member. The committee is excited to announce the official 1st place winners of the 2022 video competition.
They are: North Zone-Clay Chalkville High School, East Zone-Shades Valley High School, and the West Zone-Oak Grove High School. The committee also awards a school whose video demonstrated both great technical skills as well as a great water protection message. This year, Homewood High School was awarded the “Best Overall” award. Congrats to all these students and teachers. They worked very hard this year and the committee is proud of all their work.
Ultimately, the Litter Quitters committee hopes to see a significant reduction in litter along our roads and waterways. Most people don’t realize that litter does not stay where it was dropped. It gets carried by rain and wind to the nearest waterway—the same waterways we get our drinking water.
Litter dirties our environment, costs a lot to clean up, lowers property values, and is even linked to the increased incidences of crime lowering the quality of life. The campaign seeks to leave a lasting impression about the negative consequences of tossing trash out of vehicles or dropping it on the ground not only to the students that participate in these video competitions, but to everyone in and around Jefferson County. We aim to change their behaviors and to make sure trash is properly disposed.
We encourage you to learn more about the Litter Quitters Campaign and how to get involved in stopping the litter epidemic in Jefferson County. Visit www.litterquitters.org for more information, see a listing of the upcoming local volunteer litter cleanups, hear the radio PSA, and watch the television PSA along with all the student videos. This summer, the Committee is excited to also announce our first ever Tik Tok Challenge available to students attending a school in Jefferson County, aged 14 to 22. Students can create a maximum 60-second anti littering message. Two awards will be given for likes and content. The competition will run through July 15. Those interested should contact our committee and visit our website for details. www.litterquitters.org
Join us to be Litter Quitters.