Stop Littering and Improve Water Quality

Published on February 14, 2024

A photograph of trash and litter by a stream of water

We all want our community to look attractive and have safe, enjoyable recreational spaces. Littering is a surefire way to make our communities unattractive, degrade water quality, and siphon the fun out of recreational experiences.

Improve your community — STOP LITTERING!

Fast food containers, cigarette butts, candy wrappers and other trash deposited onto streets and parking lots wash into storm sewers and eventually make their way into our rivers and streams. Litter generally takes years to degrade and can even leech toxic chemicals into the water supply.

Here are some things you can do on your own and with your community to help end littering and protect water quality:

  • If you smoke, get your butts in the trash. Cigarette butts are the most littered item on U.S. roadways — accounting for 38% of all roadway litter. Help combat litter by disposing of cigarette butts properly.
  • Trash, don’t toss. Don’t toss fast food containers, cups, or candy wrappers out of your car window. Instead, keep a small trash bag handy in your car for garbage.
  • Deter the litterbugs. Start beautification programs in your community that include litter brigades. Visit to find out how you adopt a local spot to clean regularly.

Do your part the protect the environment! Learn more about river and stream cleanup and volunteer opportunities online at Remember, if it’s on the ground, it’s in our water.