Litter Scorecard: Michigan Largest of America's "Dirtiest" States

Michigan leads America's largest populated governments with the most polluted public spaces in the 2014 American State Litter Scorecard. Other "dirty" states include South Carolina, Nevada, Indiana, Georgia, Louisiana and New Mexico.

Michigan has the dirtiest public spaces among America’s ten most populous states, says the 2014 American State Litter Scorecard, presented this year at the American Society for Public Administration Conference in the District of Columbia.

This is the Wolverine State's first time to receive a “worst” distinction, for having least clean public spaces among large states exceeding eight million residents. In 2008, North Carolina was the Scorecard’s most populated “worst” state. In 2011, Texas and Illinois shared the “worst” big state title.

"Michigan's the ninth "dirtiest" and largest "worst" state in the 2014 American State Litter Scorecard."

In 2008, The first Scorecard provided Michigan with a “below average” ranking:  31st of 50 states. In 2011, the state retained the status nickname yet pushed slightly upward, to 29th.

Washington remains the nation's cleanest state; South Carolina, the dirtiest.

Spacek says that littering, the illegal human disposing of man-made items onto public property, breeds diseases and insects, due in part to inadequate and untimely litter removals by officials, contractors and volunteers. The Scorecard claims that each year, over 800 Americans are killed in debris-litter attributed vehicle accidents, including 32 deaths across the Wolverine State—tied with Florida for the nation’s fifth highest total deaths.

Spacek took Michigan to task for not creating a statewide anti-littering slogan; for failing to enact any comprehensive recycling regulations; for not prioritizing enforcement of existing littering and dumping laws.

"For years, Michiganders have thrown away more un-reused, un-recycled items per day than do residents of New York, California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and other states. From 2000 to 2010, Michigan was one of the top four most trash wasteful American governments," said Spacek.

Michigan’s environmental quality problems may also stem from having the "seventh highest risk for corruption in public service activities by officials and legislators," said Spacek. He mentioned the Washington-based non-profit State Integrity has severely faulted Michigan for "abysmal" practices in Gubernatorial and Legislative Accountability, Ethics Enforcement, Lobbying Disclosure and Internal Auditing of State Agencies. Furthermore, Spacek added that "a few in the Michigan Legislature have been dishonored for accepting improperly-obtained campaign contributions that turn a blind eye to state and federal laws."