litter sign

Do people who litter pay attention to signs?

In Mansfield, they apparently do.

Keep Mansfield Beautiful, a volunteer organization that works to improve and maintain the appearance of public places in town, recently announced that an experiment with placing anti-littering signs on Spring Street seems to have paid off.

Last spring, volunteers visited a section of Spring Street they had recently cleaned, only to find several pounds of fresh litter along the roadside, said Keep Mansfield Beautiful Director Neil Rhein.

After cleaning up the waste, volunteers installed 10 temporary anti-litter signs provided by the Atlantic Broom Service Company. The signs were designed to make people think twice before littering and to remind them that littering is illegal.

Thirty days later, volunteers returned to the site and removed the 10 signs. After cleaning up the same area, a notable improvement was detected. Less than one pound of trash was collected.

“We were thrilled with the results of this experiment,” Rhein said. “We understand some residents may not have been pleased with the appearance of these signs, but it’s clear they served as a deterrent to littering and that was our goal.”

Earlier this month, 10 additional temporary signs were installed on County Street. Keep Mansfield Beautiful plans to follow a similar process there and on other highly-litter roadsides.

Keep Mansfield Beautiful has also contacted the Mansfield Police and asked for increased vigilance in enforcing anti-litter laws.

“By enforcing existing laws and educating the public about the proper ways to dispose of their trash, we hope that someday we will no longer need to organize volunteer litter cleanups,” Rhein said.

Rick Foster can be reached at 508-236-0360.

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