Glendale littering index

Glendale had the second least amount of trash on its streets this year since a littering-index survey carried out by volunteers began more than a decade ago. (Steve Greenberg / August 5, 2014)

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Glendale had the second least amount of trash on its streets this year since a littering-index survey carried out by volunteers began more than a decade ago.

The survey conducted one day back in June examined 20 routes along city streets, including freeway on- and off-ramps, and averaged out a score of 1.45, an improvement from 1.52 in 2013.

The lowest score was 1.44 in 2007 and the highest was 2 back in 2003.

Juan Gonzalez, a neighborhood services supervisor with the city, said the city uses the scores to reach out to local businesses, such as fast-food restaurants, that might be generating trash outside their establishments. Also, the statistics could influence the revision of street-sweeping schedules.

But for the most part, tidier streets and sidewalks can be attributed to a series of volunteer cleanups, he said.

"It's an overall good score, but there's always room for improvement," Gonzalez said. "That's why we want to continue to partner with the community to recruit Adopt-a-Block groups to help make next year's scores even better."

The city's Adopt-a-Block program has resulted in 62 block adoptions and thousands of volunteer hours, Gonzalez said.

Eleven years ago, Glendale became a Keep America Beautiful affiliate, a nonprofit dedicated to litter-prevent education, and the association requires the littering survey be conducted every year.

It also set up the survey's scoring system that ranges from 1, meaning absolutely no litter, to 4, which means an extreme amount of litter.

This year's survey was the first time Jane Viar, who is on the Committee for a Clean & Beautiful Glendale, volunteered to participate, and her route took her through parts of La Crescenta.

She and a few other volunteers hopped into a van with a city employee and made several stops along the way, getting out of the vehicle and looking for trash on the streets.

"I don't believe I had a stop that was beyond a 1 [score]," Viar said.

Route 10 going through central Glendale had the highest score with 1.87.

No score on the 20 routes earned a 2 or higher except for some freeway ramps, according to the survey.

The ramps along the Ventura (134) Freeway earned a 2, while the Glendale (2) Freeway got a 2.4. There's a particular reason for that, Gonzalez said.

It's easy for trash to accumulate on freeway ramps because of winds, he said, but there's also an abundance of an unwanted plants taken into consideration when scoring during the survey.

"The big problem is weeds on the offramps," he said.

Sign-ups are already open for next year's littering-index survey on the city's website.

In addition to efforts such as the Adopt-a-Block program, Viar said there could be more outreach put into play in between surveys to boost litter prevention.

She suggested a better effort could go toward reaching out to non-English speakers taking approaches such as distributing multilingual fliers or getting in touch people who don't have a clear idea of how trash collection works.

"I think there are some people in Glendale who are unaware that when they put trash out on the boulevard or the curbside, it's not automatically going to be picked up," Viar said.