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Earth Day 2024: Despite Lower Victim Numbers, Deadly Waste Littering and Dumping Continues inside U.S. States

USA PROFILED LITTERERS: Groups Prone to Litter/Dump Wastes

Despite reduced total deaths from 2021-2022, fatal littering in U.S. continues. Big state California arguably now national leader for "Deaths by Littering."

Engaging in littering and dumping does damage our Earth and the lives of 1000s of children and adults,”
— STEVE SPACEK, American State Litter Scorecard
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA, April 22, 2024 / -- On Monday, the 54th anniversary of Earth Day most US states are seeing stable or declining numbers for deaths from waste littering incidents. "But dozens could still lose their lives in the next 365 days from these unfortunate circumstances," asserts Steve Spacek, Director of the American State Litter Scorecard ( and a Washington D.C.-based Public Performance Specialist.

Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s NHTSA “Fatality Analysis Reporting System FYI 2021” and “Estimates for FYI 2022/2023” show major populous, “high death toll” states--Texas, Florida, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio-- saw a trivial drop in fatalities from pedestrian and vehicular encounters with unabated solid waste, from 2021 into 2022.

A NHTSA Requests official contacted Spacek by written email, stating that “the data is accurate to the best of our knowledge, as each [of the 50] state(s) [lead police agencies] provide us the fatal crash data.”

The data shows Connecticut, Arizona, Virginia, Missouri, Washington, Nevada, Wyoming, New Hampshire and Maine seeing significant increases in lost lives.

In 2022 Rhode Island and North Dakota reported no fatalities from waste littering and dumping.

The NHTSA data has California an unfortunate exception to the reductions. With 116 dead in 2022, the Golden State had three more dead than the total from 2021. “With this knowledge, California may arguably continue to be the topmost “dead from littering” state--more than any American government,” said Spacek.

Roughly three (3) Americans are killed each day from vehicular and non-vehicular brushes with un-removed waste and related debris upon roads, sidewalks, trails and in parks nationwide. These life-ending incidents with “unfixed objects” can occur anytime and anywhere, under all types of weather, according to director Spacek.

From 2008 to 2018 Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Wyoming and North Dakota made Spacek’s Scorecard “Worst” or “Most Waste Littered States” list one or more times. Areas where littering and dumping was visible and widespread, with shamefully inexcusable mortality rates.

Studies, such as the “2009 NCHRP Synthesis 394: Reducing Litter on Roadsides,” Spacek’s own “Do Mess with It” collegiate research, and multiple state-issued projects of the 1990’s and 2000’s show Cigarette and Vape Smokers, Persons Age 16-25, Construction and Landscaping Workers and Devotees of Fast Food are groups most inclined to litter or dump solid wastes onto U.S. public spaces. “Too many in these groups are just not getting the message. Engaging in littering and dumping does damage our Earth and the lives of 1000s of children and adults,” said Spacek.

American State Litter Scorecard

Stephen "Steve" Spacek
American State Litter Scorecard
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