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KNPLCB asks residents to clean up after Fourth of July celebrations

Litter is a problem year-round, but the crew at Keep North Platte and Lincoln County Beautiful says that holidays seem to cause an increase in the trash left outside.

The Fourth of July often leaves behind firework casings or plastic wrappers. Mona Anderson, executive director, said everyone has witnessed litter at one point or another, and many times people try to rationalize it. Perhaps it blew out of the garbage during a windstorm, and it’s not worth picking up because it’s just “one piece” of trash, and someone else will take care of it.

Someone else will get it, the organization says, but it comes at a cost. According to a recent statement, litter cleanup costs North Platte and Lincoln County over $20,000 a year — the number doesn’t include litter enforcement.

It is the responsibility of each household to clean up their debris after the Fourth of July. The city doesn’t use a street sweeper or any other means to clean up litter, the organization said. Cleaning doesn’t end with the holiday weekend, either.

“This year, we have seen an increase in litter on the beaches at Lake Maloney,” said Anderson. “It is sad to see that individuals don’t want to take personal responsibility for their trash. The pollution will eventually infect the lake to the point of killing habitat.”

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 1.9 billion tons of litter ends up in the ocean every year via our local lakes and rivers; 80 percent of all marine debris is directly traced back to ground litter.

Anderson said that if someone packs something to take to the lake, they also need to pack it back out, including items such as wrappers and cigarette butts. There are trash receptacles at the lake to hold unwanted items.

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