Map Created by Steve Spacek
Steve Spacek
Apr 19, 2018 · 4 min read

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Earth Day has become an annual event across the USA and World to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Founded in 1970 by the late U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as a “national teach in on the environment,” the celebration lead to same-year passage of the Clean Air and Water Acts and creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency under then-President Richard Nixon. More information can be found at ]

(Washington, D.C., April 19, 2018) With the 48th Earth Day taking place on Sunday April 22, I — Steve Spacek, the American State Litter Scorecard’s director — am disclosing for public consumption a list of foremost American State governments having “dirtiest,” visibly littered public spaces.

In articles published on and other venues, I suggested clean environments do “matter” and are essential for healthy human living. Since 2008, I noted those state governments, determined from Scorecard research (and prior to the election of Donald Trump), having cleanest landscapes and Greenest citizenship. Scorecard versions particularly reflected on improper litter abatement outcomes by several “worst” regimes during economic downturns and upturns of the previous decade.

The Scorecard’s rankings were based on evaluative indicators, including observations by citizens, deaths from collisions with rubbish, “profiled litterer” population percentages, effectiveness of litter abatement spending, public entity corruption rankings and discernible maintenance by employees, contractors and volunteers.

The political climate for proactive environmentalism in the United States has changed since the last Scorecard version, published in 2014, and the November 2016 General Election. The current climate seems to aid and abet a negative redirection of environment concerns that, at least seemingly, were better acknowledged, if not acted on in years past, by most non-Federal public officials. Yet, in March 2017, just three months after President Trump took office, Gallup Polling still found a majority of Americans — voters and citizens alike — having a “great deal of concern” about toxic pollutants lingering upon state- managed water and landed areas. Also, since the 1970’s, Gallup noted a similar vibe of concern. Most polled respondents had in their minds a years lingering feeling, that “the public sector [had] not worked hard enough to protect the environment.” Not then, not now.

Then as now, littering manages to still damage our landscapes, breed diseases, cause injuries and deaths to animals and living creatures. Over 800 Americans still die every year from vehicle crashes with ordinary litter, tire scraps, tree limbs, even objects from unsecured loads appearing out of nowhere. Accidents that can occur anytime — day or night, under wet or dry conditions. Yet, longtime noted Scorecard “worst” regimes, such as Nevada, Louisiana, Georgia, Michigan and South Carolina choose to engage in poor waste removal performances year after year, providing voters and citizens with unpleasant ecological conditions, day and night.

One may think, with this “redirected climate”(Green to anti-Green) now in full effect, the above mentioned wayward entities might encourage more virtuous, cleaner, “best” rated governments (and those lucky to avoid deeper Scorecard scrutiny, so far) to slack off performing obliged actions that protect public health and safety.

But, thanks to technology, there’s good news that offers citizens of our fifty states some hopeful assurance in never-ending efforts to oversight the public sector. Technology has speed-ed up the ways accurate data is collected and evaluated for public entity performance purposes. Technology has also increased the odds for government officials and their contractors and volunteers to be caught doing “bad behaviors.” So, we at the Scorecard do our darndest to be correct and accurate as possible in our reviews, and keep abreast of missteps by state and local government, using modern technological means to a fullest extent possible.

Thus, I now disclose to you, the reader, America’s ten most visibly litter- polluted state governments for Earth Day 2018. Current total population estimates for each honoree is listed with parentheses, and the acting, “top responsibility for this mess” Governor is clearly named in bold capitol lettering. These Scorecard finalists are the few chosen from a universe of 50 entries, all evaluated by indicators provided by governments, nonprofits and citizen-based sources. The few that act a bit too un-prideful, a bit too lazy? at litter cleanup jobs. The few least encouraging ‘Green-good’ behaviors be practiced by residents and visitors alike.

America’s 10 Most Visibly Litter-polluted States, Earth Day 2018:

*Kansas (2,913,000), JEFF COLYER.

*Nevada (2,998,000), BRIAN SANDOVAL.

*Oklahoma (3,331,000), MARY FALLIN.

*Louisiana (4.684,000), JOHN BEL EDWARDS.

*South Carolina (5,024,000), HENRY MCMASTER.

*New Jersey (9,006,000), PHIL MURPHY.

*Michigan (9,962,000), RICK SNYDER.

*Georgia (10,430,000), NATHAN DEAL.

*Pennsylvania (12,810,000), TOM WOLF.

*Texas (28,300,000), GREG ABBOTT.

Steve Spacek

Written by

Public Task Specialist (Fed/State/Local); Talk Radio Guest; [, TWITTER@litterscorecard]

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