South Carolina has earned the dubious distinction as the nation’s dirtiest state, ranking dead last for ‘public spaces cleanliness’ in the 2014 American State Litter Scorecard.
Six years ago, when the scorecard started, S.C. ranked 44th.
The scorecard author, Steve Spacek, takes South Carolina to task for abandoning the successful state slogan “Keep it Beautiful, South Carolina” in 2011, failing to ennact container deposit and recycling laws, not prioritizing enforcement of existing laws and spending only $21 per person each year for environmental services. Part of South Carolina’s problem may also be the makeup of the population. South Carolina has the 20th largest population of 16-25 year-olds who, studies have shown are most prone, or willing, to illegally litter/dump wastes on properties, Spacek said.
In addition, South Carolinians “throw away more un-reused, un-recycled items per day’ than the residents of 48 other states, giving it the second worst ranking for most wasteful state.
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Compare all this to Florida, one of the cleanest states. Florida has fewer 16-25 year-olds, mandates recycling and has a strong anti-littering campaign, Spacek says.
The scorecard is released by the American Society for Public Administration, a public service advocacy group in Washington, D.C.
Rachael Myers Lowe
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