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Volunteers to rate Reno-Sparks for cleanliness

RENO - Wednesday evening, volunteers will be spreading out through the Truckee Meadows to rate areas of Reno, Sparks and Washoe County for cleanliness during the annual KTMB Litter Survey.

Starting at the Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB) office at 4 p.m., teams of volunteers will set out along 17 routes to look for trash and illegal dumping, and scoring them based on a national scale used by Keep America Beautiful.

The KTMB Litter Survey is part of a national initiative to track community cleanliness, and 2014 is the 13th year of the program in Northern Nevada. Routes this year have been expanded to include more areas in Sparks, along the river and the the Reno-Tahoe International Airport area. Also new this year, volunteers will be tracking graffiti along their routes.

Last year, the Reno-Sparks area had an overall rating of 1.6, which falls between a #1 rating of virtually no litter, and a #2, which means litter is apparent. The highest scores from 2013 were in open space areas like Hidden Valley, which rated a #3, meaning an organized cleanup is likely required. No routes reported a #4 -- major dumpsites present -- but this year's routes have been reorganized to include areas more known for illegal dumping as a way to keep tabs on these sites. The City of Sparks also requested more routes in Sparks as a benchmark for cleanup efforts there.

"This is a useful tool for municipalities and business owners, because it shows what people see when they come here: In a lot of areas, it's trash and litter," said Christi Cakiroglu, KTMB executive director. "The KTMB Litter Survey shows if we have more or less trash in our community, and where our problem spots are so we can concentrate on keeping those areas clean, not just for visitors, but for everyone who lives and works here."

Cakiroglu says Nevada has gotten a lot of negative press lately about being a trashy state, and while Nevada does have some problem areas, we live in a beautiful place with so much to offer. With just a little care, we can keep this amazing community clean and healthy for all our families."

Routes in the 2014 KTMB Litter Survey include everything north to Cold Springs, south to Pleasant Valley, east to Mustang and west to Verdi.