Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful conducts community appearance index
While the scores weren’t perfect, they were pretty good.
Laurie Riley, Executive Director of Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful (KCNB), said that the annual litter survey showed that the areas of Newton County had low index numbers, showing the area isn’t all that trashy.
A requirement of Keep America Beautiful, the community appearance index, or “litter index,” scores areas for things like illegal signs, graffiti, junk cars and outside storage.
“It’s a windshield survey,” Riley said. “We drive around and note what we see. It’s rated on a scale from 1 to 4 – one is no litter at all; four is extremely littered. Four would be considered an illegal dump site.”
Riley said KCNB has been surveying the county for 16 years. “Our highest litter index was 1.87, our lowest 1.22.” This year’s the litter index was 1.28.
For the first 15 years, the same areas were surveyed. This year, KCNB asked Keep America Beautiful to let them change what they surveyed. The organization agreed.
“We use GIS [Geographic Information System department for Covington-Newton County] mapping to randomly select segments of roadways that we drive.”
Fifteen areas are selected randomly from each of the five commissioner districts in the county. Volunteers score the different areas while Riley drives. “We had two scorers for each time, eight volunteers in all. GIS comes with us to help navigate,” she said.
“Since GIS has been helping us, we’ve been a lot more efficient. They help us route so we’re not spending a whole lot of time driving to the different segment,” she said. “Before we had that technology, we used paper maps to find the best way to go, but it took a lot longer.”
This year, the survey took a total of eight hours over three days.
Areas surveyed were a mix of residential, commercial and industrial. The resulting litter score was 1.66, slightly higher than last year’s 1.28 score. “We thought it would be a lot higher.”
“We think it’s a great score,” Riley said. “We’re proud that it was this good, especially graffiti. We have virtually no graffiti in our county – [there are] very isolated incidents. All the other indices were much lower than the litter index.”
KCNB use the results of the Keep American Beautiful survey to set goals and develop effective community improvement education programs to raise the awareness of litter prevention.
The 1.28 score on the index is a median of five different categories. Newton County received a score of 1.66 in litter, 1.10 in illegal signs, 1.02 in graffiti, 1.19 in junk cares and 1.23 in outside junk.
KCNB continues to regularly enhance the health, safety and economic viability of Covington and Newton County by empowering hundreds of local volunteers to take greater responsibility for litter prevention and cleanup, recycling, waste minimization and all forms of beautification and community improvement.
To learn more about KCNB volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 770-784-2015.
To report litter and illegal dumpsites in unincorporated Newton County, please call the Code Enforcement Hotline at 678-625-1666 or visit www.co.newton.ga.us and click on “Online Services” to electronically submit Code Enforcement complaints.
Keep Covington/Beautiful staff and volunteers excitedly hit the road on June 22 to finish scoring litter, graffiti and junk vehicles on roads across Newton County as part of the Community Appearance Index.