Litter Index Explained.

The City of Philadelphia Litter Index is a map-based survey of the litter conditions of the City’s streets, parks and recreation sites, public school sites, green stormwater infrastructure, river ways, and vacant lots.

The Litter Index is conducted by trained staff in the City departments responsible for surveying and documenting litter on city streets, sidewalks, vacant lots, and other public property. The index is digitized using cloud-based surveys taken on tablets using GPS coordinates to ensure accuracy. Along with an estimated litter count on an asset or property, field surveyors also give a 1-4 litter rating based on metrics from Keep America Beautiful, with a rating of 1 being little to no litter, 2 being litter in the amount that can be picked up by one person, 3 being litter in the amount that would need a team to clean up and 4 being litter that would require a large cleanup effort and/or heavy machinery to remove debris.

Above is a color coordinated map of neighborhood litter ratings throughout the city. While our survey rating scale is measured from 1 to 4, the colors on the map are based on standard deviation, which better reflects the differences between the average scores of the neighborhoods. On the map, green represents the cleanest areas, while dark red represents the most littered areas (map legend for block score pictured on left).

This is a great result for our first survey effort! Many of our neighborhoods have streets and open land with major trash accumulations, however, and it’s our goal to improve these areas. By searching for your address, you will see an average litter rating for your immediate neighborhood as well as a weighted average for your hundred block based on the street and lots on your block.

To aid us in community organizing, the Litter Index application above also provides a sidebar with information related to the resources an area has to encourage residents to do their part to keep their neighborhoods clean. If you search your address and find that your area does not have a particular resource, please click on its link to find out how to bring it to your neighborhood.

It’s the goal of the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet that the Litter Index be the tool that allows all of our neighborhoods to strive for zero litter, because Zero Starts With One. And a cleaner Philadelphia starts with you.

Video: The Litter Index Explained

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