HONOLULU, HI (Sept. 27, 2017) – Keep The Hawaiian Islands Beautiful (KHIB) conducted its first-ever Community Appearance Index, a Keep America Beautiful tool designed to visually assess the overall condition of O‘ahu communities by observing indicators such as litter, illegal signs, graffiti, abandoned/junk vehicles and outside storage.
A team of 15 volunteers conducted Keep America Beautiful’s nationally-recognized litter assessment scale using a scoring system ranging from 1-4, with “1” being the best to “4” being the worst. The Litter Index was conducted in each of the nine city council districts, with results ranging from 1.33 to 2.33, with an overall average of 1.79. While this is only the first year and additional years are needed for a clear understanding of the issue, this is a positive start as it shows the majority of O‘ahu’s streets were only slightly littered. Residential streets were the cleanest, whereas industrial areas were the most littered. City Council District 1 had higher rates of litter than the other districts.
Results from this island-wide litter scan allow Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful to pinpoint and monitor highly-littered areas, and then subsequently identify the behaviors leading to the littering and use proven behavior-change strategies to address the identified issues. Affiliates of Keep America Beautiful must complete the Community Appearance Index each year, along with a comprehensive cost-benefit report, to remain an affiliate in good standing with the national nonprofit.
“The Community Appearance Index is designed to gather data annually and the results are used to develop a local plan to change attitudes and behaviors regarding litter and related community improvement issues,” said Keep America Beautiful Vice President/Litter & Affiliate Relations Cecile Carson. “This information helps our community-based affiliates focus their resources in areas where they can have the greatest impact in keeping their communities clean, green and beautiful.”
“Now is the time to act on litter prevention and reduction. It is important that individuals and communities take action to care for their environment. The Keep America Beautiful Community Appearance Index revealed promising results indicating that generally, O‘ahu is not extremely littered. However, there are a handful of scattered sites that need to be the focus of intervention,” said Blaire J. Langston, Litter Analyst Fellow, Kupu.
For the Community Appearance Index, the team of 15 volunteer litter assessors including UH Mānoa students, KHIB members, Kupu employees, community members, 808 Cleanup members, and the American Chemistry Council completed 90 surveys over the course of three days.
Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful will utilize these and future surveys to strategize behavior-change actions to end littering, improve recycling, and maintain the beauty of Hawai‘i. In April, Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful hosted an enforcement and education workshop focused on utilizing the Hawai‘i Environmental Court to further the abatement of litter/debris and illegal dumping.