March 2, 2019
For Immediate Release
Great Savannah Litter Pickup Day Wrap (and Rap)
SAVANNAH, GA (March 2, 219) - Hundreds of Savannah residents joined forces to clean up their neighborhoods on Saturday, as officials launched the next phase of an ambitious litter education campaign and Police announced a new initiative to crack down on litterbugs.
The far-reaching actions focused on litter came during the Great Savannah Litter Pickup. More than 80 civic organizations participated in the major effort.
“Let’s just make a real effort not to throw trash on the ground,” said Mayor Eddie DeLoach. “Help us take care of Savannah.”
Bags of litter collected during the morning neighborhood cleanups were hauled by Sanitation workers to Thomas Square, the site of the Great Savannah Litter Pickup News Conference. There, Keep Savannah Beautiful Chairwoman LaToya Brannen promoted a new Adopt a Spot program intended to encourage year-round litter cleanups. “We currently have more than 40 partners working with us in that effort, but there’s still a great need for volunteers,” says Brannen.
Parker’s CEO Greg Parker, Co-Chairman of the public-private partnership Keep Savannah Clean, unveiled the next phase of a new anti-litter campaign designed to change behavior. The campaign features many of Savannah’s shining stars in TV commercials, billboards, yard signs, radio and social media posts. Original art by Savannah artist Panhandle Slim will grace billboards, ads and yard signs, which will be available to the public at Parker’s stations, City Hall and other locations.
“This is MY home. Don’t trash it” is the slogan repeated in the campaign, which urges Savannahians to take pride in their neighborhoods.
“We’re so fortunate to live in America’s most beautiful city,” Parker said. “Why would we want to trash it?”
Among the stars is Flau’jae, a 15-year-old Savannah native who made it to the quarterfinals of the television show “America’s Got Talent.” Flau’jae wrote and performed a 30-second rap about her pride in Savannah, ending with an emphatic, “This is MY home. Don’t trash it.” (https://www.dropbox.com/s/mvenk6gi178aui9/KSC%20Influencers%20.mp4?dl=0)
On Thursday, Savannah City Council passed a new law, called the Clean Community Ordinance, that better defines littering, and sets a fine schedule for those caught littering.
Savannah Police will use this new ordinance to launch a new Police litter enforcement initiative. Officers will not be redirected off their normal beats to catch litter bugs. But if an officer sees someone littering, that officer will use his or her good judgment and issue a citation, if warranted. Minimum fines are $50 for a first offense, $75 for second offense, and $150 for third offense.
“Littering is against the law, plain and simple,” Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter said. “A community that tolerates litter sends the signal that other kinds of criminal behavior is tolerated here. While education is important to change people’s attitude toward litter, enforcement must be part of the solution.”
Keep Savannah Clean is a public-private collaboration focused on reducing litter in Savannah by 50 percent through strategic education, outreach and enforcement initiatives.
Throughout the year, Keep Savannah Clean’s social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will offer information about the larger impact of littering on the community and will share videos featuring local residents, business leaders and community influencers, discussing why they love Savannah.
Every year, $11.5 billion is spent cleaning up litter in the United States. According to several studies, 75 percent of Americans admitted that they littered in the past five years, litter can lower property values by as much as 15 percent and 1.9 billion tons of litter end up in the ocean annually.