To the Editor:

September 18 is National Clean-Up Day, an annual event aimed at raising awareness about litter and encouraging communities to do what they can to clean up their common spaces.

Did you know that cigarette butts are one of the most commonly littered items? Or that aluminum cans are littered five times more often than plastic water bottles? Or that the masks, gloves, and other gear used during COVID were littered as often as drinking straws?

According to Keep America Beautiful’s 2020 litter study, 50 billion pieces of trash are littered each year — roughly 152 pieces of litter per American.

These items are convenient and essential for public safety, but we must do our part to make sure they are disposed of properly. Bottles and cans belong in recycling bins, not rivers. Masks and gloves should be in the trash, not the gutter. Each of us can do our part to keep our communities clean.

More than 1 million people are expected to participate this year. While not everyone has time to attend a clean-up event, simply educating yourself about the problem of litter is one way to participate.

James Bowers

Managing director

Campaign for Recycling Awareness

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