Keep Champaign Beautiful Committee Conducts Annual Litter Index

Members of Keep Champaign Beautiful, a sub-committee of the Neighborhood Services Advisory Board, conducted the 2016 Litter Index on October 28.  The litter index is one of the annual requirements to maintain affiliation with Keep America Beautiful.  This is the third year the Keep Champaign Beautiful Committee has performed a litter index in Champaign. The litter index is conducted at approximately the same time each year and covers the same areas so a comparison from each year can be made. The results generated through the litter index are intended to help quickly and reliably assess the litter situation in Champaign and to assist in developing long-term, sustainable results with litter abatement efforts.

As part of the process, the City of Champaign was divided into five areas. Within each area there are pre-selected ranges that are surveyed.  The litter index participants assign a score to each preselected range based on the amount of litter observed during the survey.  The scores range from 1 to 4.  A score of 1 is assigned to an area when little or no litter is observed while a score of 4 represents a high incidence of litter.  Data for the three surveys is compiled in the following table.

Litter Index Results

Year Data Collection Date Area 1 Area 2 Area 3 Area 4 Area 5 Overall Score
2014 10/17/14 1.96 1.78 1.40 1.29 1.26 1.57
2015 10/16/15 2.12 1.58 1.16 1.10 1.11 1.40
2016 10/28/16 1.93 1.48 1.05 1.26 1.08 1.44

The data suggests there has not been much change over the past two years.  Scores have remained relatively low although there are some areas that have a higher incidence of litter. For example, Area 1 includes the N. Prospect area.  This area is concentrated with commercial development and a high volume of traffic.  Litter samples taken in some of the ranges suggest a high concentration of plastic bags.  Often these are immediately discarded by consumers and can become windblown debris until it accumulates against a barrier that catches it.  Area 2 is another example of high traffic, businesses and pedestrians. The most commonly occurring items were plastic bags and fast food containers in this area.

The Keep Champaign Beautiful Committee will utilize the data from the survey to make recommendations for litter prevention and collection programs.