Data can help cities tailor litter reduction strategies by digging deeper to understand its root causes. By conducting research that is specific to an area, data-driven programs or policy recommendations—and lasting results—can become more feasible.
As a part of my internship, I went on a field trip to the Staten Island Transfer Station (SITS), one of the most notorious landfills in the country. As soon as we entered the area, I thought I would be hit by a wall of overwhelming garbage smell, but much to my surprise, it smelled like grass and flowers except for when we entered the building where the garbage is dropped off.
How did your family or town get rid of trash when you were a kid? I imagine that most couldn’t answer this question beyond the point of, “well, we put it by the side of the road and someone just picked it up.”