The waterways in the Greater Houston-Galveston Region are drowning in trash and litter, according to a recent study by Texans for Clean Water. The study estimated that local governments spend approximately $21 million annually on trash prevention, outreach, abatement, and enforcement.
In addition, recent extreme weather events like Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Imelda, wreaked havoc on the region, dumping tons of yet-to-be-removed debris and harmful waste in the area’s waterways.
Recently, the Garver Black Hilyard Family Foundation awarded a $250,000 grant to HARC (Houston Advanced Research Center) to optimize marine debris removal efforts in local waterways.
The Texas Litter Database was created for Keep Texas Beautiful by HARC in partnership with BlackCat GIS with funding from the Garver Black Hilyard Family Foundation. The purpose of the Texas Litter Database is to be a central state database that organizes all trash and marine debris data (locations, quantities, types, counts) across Texas. The Texas Litter Database is an essential step towards greater collaboration between organizations cleaning up litter and the organizations researching litter impacts, sources, pathways, and removal. The data are available to all users – either through viewing on the maps and graphs page, or through data downloads.
Take 2 For Texas is a rapid assessment method of data counting and tracking the public can do anywhere. Anyone can take just two minutes to pick up and count all the plastic bottles they can see as they walk along slowly, and then enter their count into the database. Keep Texas Beautiful and HARC are hoping to get Take 2 bottle counts all across the great state of Texas. By creating a state-wide beverage bottle litter count, citizen scientists can help us find out where these bottles are ending up, so we can start working on preventing them from entering our waterways.
For more details on how this project was developed, visit the Texas Litter Database Storymap.
The goal of the Headwaters to Baywaters initiative (launched by Bayou Land Conservancy (BLC), Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP), Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF), Houston Audubon Society (HAS), and Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) ) is to ensure healthy lands, healthy waters, and healthy communities for the greater Houston region.
HARC is partnering with multiple organizations to provide a science-based review of groundwater in the Houston-Galveston Region.