September 4, 2009
For immediate release
Roadside Littering Down Sharply in 2009 Survey
Environment, Energy & Forestry
The survey was carried out for the Department of Environment, Energy and Forestry in Spring 2009 by the Southeast Environmental Association. Researchers counted and classified roadside waste from 100-metre-long sections of highway at 46 locations across Prince Edward Island. Results were compared to litter survey numbers from the same sites in 2005.
“Based on these numbers, there has been a great reduction in littering. In 2005, there was an average of 152 pieces of litter collected from each of these sites. In 2009, that average was down to just under 53 pieces per site,” the minister said. “That suggests that fewer people are littering in this province. It’s great news.”
Sarah-Jane Bell, chair of the Southeast Environmental Association, said the results suggest Islanders seem to be taking better care of the landscape by littering less.
“Disposable cups from various fast food outlets were the most common littered item found in the survey. The difference wasn’t significant between urban and rural sites but sites with the most litter were located about 20 minutes from the store in which it was purchased. Clearly some people throw out their waste when they have consumed the products rather than waiting until their next stop”, she said. “The challenge is to change this behavior which comes down to taking responsibility for proper disposal,” said Ms. Bell.
The most commonly found items in the litter surveys were cups - mostly from takeout establishments.
The next most commonly found items were cans (4.76 per site), cup lids (4.46 per site), and plastic bottles (3.57 per site).
Beverage cans (evenly divided between beer and pop cans) were the only item in the top categories to show an increase since the last roadside litter survey in 2005. At the time of the earlier survey, sales of carbonated drinks in metal containers were not allowed on Prince Edward Island. That ban was lifted in 2008.
“While we saw an increase in cans among roadside litter, that was offset by a decrease in the number of glass bottles that were recovered. More to the point, the bottles found at roadside in past years included many bottles that were broken and not returnable. All the cans found this year have been sent for recycling through the province’s Beverage Container Management System,” said Minister Brown.
Copies of the Roadside Litter Survey Report 2009 are available at http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/eef_litter09.pdf