Home Education K-12 Anti-Litter Campaign Aims to Increase Awareness, Empower Students

Anti-Litter Campaign Aims to Increase Awareness, Empower Students

Students from Valley Creek Basin-Oak Grove High School film a Litter Quitters campaign. (Provided)

By Holly Lynne Killian | Special to The 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 seventh year, this anti-litter campaign aims to increase awareness about the negative effects of litter and empower students to become more actively involved in clean water promotion.

Based on a Keep America Beautiful study, young adults aged 18 to 35 are 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 of the Litter Quitters Campaign, the Committee hosts a 12-day anti-litter video competition inviting all public high schools within Jefferson County, AL to submit one video.  To add a layer of stormwater education, schools only competed against other schools in their stormwater drainage basin. This splits Jefferson County into 3 basins – Locust Fork, Valley Creek, and the Cahaba River. The videos with the most “likes” win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each of the 3 watershed drainage basins.  “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 an exciting competition!” says Hana Berres, Litter Quitters Committee member.

The Committee is excited to announce the official 1st place winners of the 2024 video competition.  They are as follows: Locust Fork Basin-Minor High School, Cahaba River Basin-Homewood High School, and the Valley Creek Basin-Oak Grove High School. The Committee also awards a school whose video demonstrates 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 do not realize that litter does not stay where it was dropped. It gets washed by rain into the stormwater drainage system and carried 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. This 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.

Help stop the littering epidemic in Jefferson County.  Visit www.litterquitters.org to watch the students’ videos, see this year’s television PSA and see a listing of local volunteer roadside litter cleanups.

Become a Litter Quitter today!