Keep Columbus Beautiful officials have embarked on an ambitious campaign to end littering in the city with a simple slogan: Pick it up!

"It's a huge project," Judy Robinson told members of the Clintonville Area Commission during their Feb. 2 meeting.

The problem, the Clintonville Woman's Club member said, is that the Keep Columbus Beautiful staff consists of two people. That means volunteers will play an essential role, Robinson said.

Few areas of Clintonville are blighted with trash, Robinson said, but diligence is needed to prevent that from happening. She said several organizations in the neighborhood are involved in ongoing trash-collection projects.

"Clintonville's blessed to have a lot of active groups ... but we need to involve more people," Robinson said.

District 7 representative Jason Meek said Keep Columbus Beautiful would provide trash bags, gloves and pickup tools for organized cleanups.

According to the brochure for the End Littering in Columbus campaign, the aim is to go beyond just gathering and properly disposing of trash.

"While cleanups are a major factor in improving the health and visual appearance of a community, changing behavior is the true path to ending litter," the brochure states. "Beginning with our youth today will ensure tomorrow's generations understand the hazards of litter and develop a socially responsible attitude regarding the community and the environment."

During her presentation before the CAC, Robinson cited statistics relating to the cost of litter in the United States.

The stats came from the 2009 National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study, conducted by Keep America Beautiful. It was the first new such research conducted since 1969.

"Over 51 billion pieces of litter appear on U.S. roadways each year," the report states. "Most of it, 46.6 billion pieces (91 percent), is less than 4 inches. That's 6,729 items per mile of roadway."

Tobacco products account for just under 38 percent of all litter, followed by paper at 21.9 percent and plastic at 19.3 percent.

"Litter cleanup costs the U.S. more than $11.5 billion each year, with businesses paying $9.1 billion," the report continues. "Local and state governments, schools and other organizations pick up the remaining costs."

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