Gov. Ralph Northam has issued a proclamation declaring October as Virginia is for Lovers, Not Litter Month.
This year marks the inaugural celebration of a month-long initiative that focuses on raising awareness about litter and encouraging all Virginians to commit to do their part to keep the Commonwealth litter-free.
“Tackling litter demonstrates our responsibility and respect for our communities,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Lovers Not Litter is a campaign and a commitment to highway safety, economic development, tourism, and a healthier future together.”
Awareness of a challenge is the best way to combat it, and Lovers, Not Litter Month aims to remind all Virginians that littering in any context is unacceptable. The initiative is a collaboration between the Virginia Department of Transportation and Keep Virginia Beautiful, with support from the Virginia Tourism Corporation and Virginia State Parks. This month-long campaign is focused on encouraging Virginians to learn about the impact of litter and to take the No Love for Litter pledge on the Lovers not Litter website.
Nearly $3.5 million is spent each year cleaning up litter on Virginia’s roadways, but the true costs of litter go much further. Litter can be harmful to our health and the health of our environment, an unnecessary obstacle on our roads and highways, a detriment to economic development opportunities, and a drag on Virginia’s critical tourism and agriculture industries. Problems from litter can linger for years, unfairly saddling future generations of Virginians with the same preventable problems.
Virginia launched the Virginia is for Lovers, Not Litter initiative in 2020 to raise awareness about Virginia’s litter challenges and to promote ways to protect Virginians from the negative consequences of litter in our Commonwealth. From the start of the Northam administration through today, more than 18,000 volunteers have collected more than 1.9 million pounds of trash through VDOT-sponsored litter cleanup programs.
Along with encouraging Virginians to do their part to combat litter, Virginia has taken steps to keep those responsible for litter accountable. In 2020, Governor Northam signed HB 1154, sponsored by Delegate Alfonso Lopez, to bring the litter tax in line with contemporary litter trends, and in 2021 he signed HB 1801, sponsored by Delegate James Edmunds, to increase the fine for littering.