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Wichita State University, City of Wichita to conduct litter study

A volunteer in Wichita cleans trash along the Arkansas River ahead of the Riverfest in 2019.
A volunteer in Wichita cleans trash along the Arkansas River ahead of the Riverfest in 2019.(KWCH 12)
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 4:18 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Environmental Finance Center at Wichita State University and the Wichita City Council are partnering to conduct a study of litter in Wichita. A news release from the city said “the study aims s to help local leaders and community groups make decisions about how to reduce litter. Community members who would like to help with the study can complete a volunteer interest form on Wichita State’s website.

“It’s crucial that we understand the source of litter in Wichita,” said Wichita City Council Member Becky Tuttle. “As we work toward making Wichita the best it can be, we must address material blight found throughout the city and work to find ways to address and prevent littering.”

In the study, volunteers will collect and document the type of material, condition and quality of litter from 12 locations in Wichita.

“Each litter collection event will provide data points to help the city understand what types of litter are most common and how it builds over time,” the City of Wichita explained in its news release. “The clean-up locations represent a variety of terrain, land use and surrounding activities. Many are near a waterway or storm drain that leads to the Arkansas River.”

The city pointed out that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Trash Free Waters Program estimates that at least 80 percent of trash in waterways comes from land-based sources. The Wichita Litter Study aims to help determine the impact of trash on Wichita’s land, creeks, rivers and streams. The EPA funded the project.

“It remains critically important that we keep trash from entering our waterways here in the Heartland,” said Acting EPA Region 7 Administrator Ed Chu. “I’m glad to see the Wichita litter study move forward and know the data collected and the partnerships built through this effort will help keep waters trash-free.”

Analyses of the data collected should provide a “big-picture snapshot of litter in Wichita,” the city said. It said the “analyses can  also show potential environmental and community impacts over time and inform possible intervention policies or program implementation.”

“We hope the Wichita Litter Study becomes a baseline to measure the impact of future litter reduction programs by. This project also has potential to be replicated in other locations or waterways across the Wichita metro area,” said Tonya Bronleewe, Director of the Environmental Finance Center.

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