Litter and any illegally dumped waste is a serious threat to the environment and our own personal health. Litter is transported into storm drains and often ends up in area rivers and bodies of water. For example, trash strewn around campus flows through storm drains and into Waller Creek, which is a tributary to the Colorado River, a source of our drinking water.
People litter for many reasons, often because they lack a sense of ownership, they believe that someone else picks up their litter, or the area is already littered. This should not be the case for our University community. In the spirit of building an environmentally safe campus community, litter prevention campaigns and education programs are the answer to our problem.
Despite prevention campaigns and education programs, we can always expect some level of littering or illegal dumping activity within our community. But combating the problem through education is the answer. People must be aware of the environmental repercussions of litter and illegal dumping. People must also be aware of what steps to take in order to take a proactive hand in the elimination of littering and illegal dumping.
Some examples of taking a proactive hand in litter control include calling a hotline established by EHS to report illegal dumping (471-3511), or becoming involved in the Longhorn Recycling Roundup. In addition to these programs, The University has a recycling program housed by the Facilities Services.
As a proactive member of our community, you could also join an on or off-campus group to become informed about the issues that effect our environment. There are many resources available for anyone interested in taking a stand against litter.
- EPA EnviroSense
- TCEQ Pollution Prevention Guides
- City of Austin Solid Waste Services department website details programs of the City of Austin and answers community member's questions about what actions the City is taking to keep our environment clean.
- Sierra Club's goal is "Protecting the Environment… For Our Families, For Our Future." Their mission is "to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources; and to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environments."
- Ecology Action has been active in Austin since 1970. We are a non-profit environmental organization, and we operate a network of recycling centers in Central Texas.
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), has another website dedicated to our environment. Their goals include "clean air, clean water, and the safe management of waste, with an emphasis on pollution prevention."
- EPA Region 6 serves as a resource for five states, including Texas. Explore their website by browsing either the customer links or the offices and programs links.