How does Glendale rank when it comes to litter?

CITY HALL — The amount of trash and cigarette butts on city streets continues to decline, according to the most recent “litter index” released this week.

Glendale Neighborhood Services officials reported that on a scale of 1 to 4 — with 1 indicating “no litter” and 4 representing “extremely littered” — the city had an average ranking of 1.47.

The results were compiled last month when city officials and volunteers recorded litter levels in 24 study areas.

The annual litter ranking has fallen consistently since 2005, when Glendale received a 1.87 ranking in the inaugural study.

City officials attribute the decline to a range of outreach activities, including educational programs at schools, a block adoption program and community clean-up events.

“We feel when people actually participate in those programs, that people walk away feeling more of a sense of ownership for their neighborhood and their community,” said Sandra Rodriguez, a program coordinator for the Neighborhood Services Division.

Glendale resident Margaret Hammond, a longtime member of the Committee for a Clean & Beautiful Glendale, said she has seen the decline as a volunteer in recent years.

“Last year, I was amazed at the difference from what it was the year before,” she said. “We would go virtually blocks and blocks and not see anything.”

The study did find hot spots with higher levels of litter — mainly along stretches of the Golden State (5), Glendale (2) and the Foothill (210) freeways.

The highest amount of litter was reported in the study areas along Interstate 5 in the Glendale Rancho area, which received a ranking of 3.17, compared to 1.75 in last year’s survey.

And while the city has in recent years banned smoking in virtually all public places, city officials say cigarette-related litter remains a significant problem.

“If anything, now we have to increase our education, so people know that when they have to put out their cigarettes, they know not to discard them in the street,” Rodriguez said.

At the annual Great American Clean-Up event earlier this year, thousands of cigarette butts were collected, she added.

“We show them the volume of the butts that are out on the streets, and it really gives people a very good visual,” she said. “It helps people understand this is a really big problem.”

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