Litter may not be the most dramatic or exciting of the many problems that threaten the quality of our environment, but it is a problem which affects everyone in our community. Litterbugs can be found among people of every age, sex, race, and ethnic origin, at every level of society, and in all geographic locations.
Here in Bayonne, when we litter it hurts our image and our wallets. Litter destroys the beauty of our community. Continued Commerce is an important part of Bayonne’s economy. People come from all over to experience the beauty of our Little League and Cal Ripken ball fields, cruises, and historic landmarks. When litter mars their enjoyment, Bayonne loses valuable commerce.
Litter also affects our economy. Litter discourages economic development because it impacts real-estate values. Good stores and important businesses will not locate in a community that lacks the pride to effectively control litter.
There is a misconception that littering creates jobs. However, litter costs money. New Jersey taxpayers pay millions of dollars annually for roadside cleanup. NJDOT spends this amount to clean up only the worst areas—roads with high litter accumulation. Speaking of roads, litter is a safety hazard. Litter impacts car-insurance rates because thousands of auto accidents are litter-related.
I’ve been very active on social media. Facebook for example, has a page dedicated to “Why Bayonne Is Going down the Tubes.” A majority of the comments or uploads on the page are dedicated to trash and litter around our city. Sadly, this page has 954 likes. To put that into perspective, that is 100 likes less than Wal-Mart of Bayonne. We hear all the complaints about trash in our city, but in the time it takes a person to snap a photo and upload it to social media, call City Hall, or write a letter to the paper, we also had a choice to solve the problem and clean it up.
I do not know who facilitates the Bayonne tubes Facebook page but if you have almost a thousand people liking your page, then I ask you to join us. In the coming weeks I’ll be forming a coalition of volunteers dedicated to cleaning up Bayonne. Our goals will be assisted-area beautification for disabled residents, to encourage able-bodied residents to “adopt a spot” in their neighborhood, and provide education and awareness on how littering affects our community.
There are many problems plaguing our city, but if we can unite with our neighbors and reduce the burden of cleanup costs, we can reduce our city’s budget. We must not continue to suggest this is our mayor’s and council members’ responsibility because this is our community. Representatives govern based on the will of the people so let’s show them our determination. The less money the city has to allocate for cleanup projects the more money is going back into our pockets or into other projects in our city. For more information, visit the contact page on www.zanowicformayor.com. If you are interested in volunteering please send an email to CleanerBayonne@gmail.com.