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 sixth 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 has chosen to focus 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 3 competition zones based on watersheds. The videos with the most “likes” win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each of the 3 watershed zones.
“It is always fun to see how creative the students can be from year to year and how they incorporate trending events. It makes for a exciting competition!” says Hana Berres, Litter Quitters Committee member. The Committee is excited to announce the official 1st place winners of the 2023 video competition. They are: Locust Fork Basin-Clay Chalkville High School, Cahaba River Basin-Shades Valley High School, and the Valley Creek Basin-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, Minor High School was awarded the “Best Message” 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 fish, swim, and 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, e-recycling events, hear the radio PSA, and watch the television PSA along with all the student videos.
Join us to be Litter Quitters.