Paquette Makes Plea for Litter Control Ordinance

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Thursday April 23, 2015

We’ve all seen trash littering lawns and businesses, particularly during spring thaw or after a wind storm, but what can be done about it outside of annual Green Up Day? At the April 20 council meeting, long time resident Bernie Paquette presented a thorough and impassioned ordinance that could accomplish a cleaner South Burlington through a variety of means.

Paquette’s document argues that the city should, “set clean city, litter free business standards and litter control management processes and measurements to ensure year round compliance and constant improvement.”

Paquette stressed that people are less apt to drop litter if an area is litter free. The converse also holds true. Businesses that maintain litter free storefronts and properties year round could benefit from more attractive grounds while additional protections to water, wildlife, and human health could all be achieved at the same time.

But how would this happen? Paquette proposed a grading system (A-D, with A meaning no litter, and D meaning heavily littered) for businesses. Grade D would equal non-compliance with the ordinance and the establishment would be given a certain amount of time to comply. More readily accessible trash and recycling containers could facilitate this process.

In order to encourage people to be more mindful of trash pick-up, Paquette proposed creating city-wide programs such as “adopt-a-block”, where citizens or groups sign up to pick up litter periodically in a public area of the city for one year. Other ideas included an annual Red Rocks beach clean-up day, and organizing a “fall sweep” campaign for pre-snow litter clean-up in November.

Resolutions four through six of the proposed ordinance regard thanking and commending those who take action against littering in the city. Paquette named the South Burlington Land Trust, the supporters and organizers of Green Up Day, and those who volunteer to “adopt-a-block” as examples.

Councilors were supportive of Paquette’s ideas, particularly of the adopt-a-block campaign and the Red Rocks beach clean-up. Chair Pat Nowak said she would need to go down through each item of the proposed ordinance with the council and figure out which items actually warranted ordinances, but agreed that “we all want to be a clean city.”

Helen Riehle said, “This is a well written and thoughtful proposal...I look forward to reviewing it as a council and appreciate the time that went into it.”

For more information, check out Paquette’s blog: www.litterwithastorytotell.blogspot.com.

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent