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Sparks, Spanish Springs rank high on litter survey
by Tribune Staff
Sep 05, 2013 | 1237 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photo -- Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful announced the results of its Litter Survey on Thursday showing Sparks and Spanish Springs as two neighborhoods with improvements.
Tribune file photo -- Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful announced the results of its Litter Survey on Thursday showing Sparks and Spanish Springs as two neighborhoods with improvements.
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Tribune file photo -- Sparks resident Bruce Osgood spends time cleaning Pyramid Highway every week for his health, and his contributions are some of what has helped improve the road's litter and illegal dumping from previous years, according to Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful.
Tribune file photo -- Sparks resident Bruce Osgood spends time cleaning Pyramid Highway every week for his health, and his contributions are some of what has helped improve the road's litter and illegal dumping from previous years, according to Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful.
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Improvements to the Truckee Meadows, in terms of litter, may have only improved slightly, but non-profit organization and litter survey conductor Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB) was impressed with key problem areas showing major improvements, including Spanish Springs in the neighborhood category and Pyramid Way in the open spaces category.

The KTMB litter survey has been conducted six times spanning 12 years and it inspects neighborhoods, open spaces and freeways in Reno and Sparks. The survey’s scoring ranges from 1, meaning “virtually no litter can be observed,” to 4, meaning “major litter present and illegal dumping sites present.”

Pyramid Way showed the biggest turnaround registering a 4 in both 2006 and 2012 and improving to 1.5 in 2013. Spanish Springs, one of the largest surveyed neighborhoods, scored 1.1 this year after ranking as high as 3.8 in past years. It now holds an average of 1.8. Sparks came in at 1.5, improving from as high as 2.8 in 2001, bringing its average to 1.8.

"We have a lot of caring people in our community, who have noticed trash in their neighborhoods and are really stepping up to make our home better for everyone," said KTMB executive director Christi Cakiroglu. "With programs like the KTMB Litter Survey, we can also raise awareness about the wide-ranging health and economic impacts litter and illegal dumping have on our community."

Cakiroglu said some areas did show trends of more trash than previous years, including Golden and Hidden valleys and Keystone Canyon. Jamie Souza, KTMB Program Manager, said volunteers were not only key in conducting the survey, but they are the key to improving the litter in all neighborhoods and open spaces.

"Through coalitions like the Illegal Dumping Task Force, we move beyond cleanups and offer community education and economic alternatives," Souza said. "As an organization, Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful mobilizes thousands of volunteers to clean up litter and dump sites, but if we want to be a truly healthy community, we have to help residents understand the real drain on our economy and quality of life these problems create."

Freeways in the Truckee Meadows totaled a 1.6 total score with I-80 West showing the worst score at 2.5. All neighborhoods conducted in the survey scored lower than 2 with North Valleys being the highest at 1.8. Open spaces totaled 1.9 in the survey with the lowest being Horizon Hills at an even 1 and the worst being Hidden Valley, scoring a 3.

The KTMB Litter Survey provides data to local municipalities as well as Keep America Beautiful's national Litter Survey. With this data, city and county agencies can pinpoint problem litter, graffiti and dumping areas and better use and secure funding. Areas to survey are chosen to reflect population and land use, and the survey is supported by a grant from The Thelma B. and Thomas P. Hart Foundation.

Full results of the survey can be viewed at www.ktmb.org.
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