DO MESS WITH IT!: A Sociopolitical Study of Littering and the Role of Southern and Nearby States




Spacek, Stephen L.

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Littering is an environmental crime in the United States, creating a danger to public health and safety. Although environmental quality studies single out the Southern States as "having the most befouled" ecological conditions in America, experts have done little research on littering's impingement upon jurisdictional environmental degradation using multivariate statistical analysis. This research Is twofold: First is found an examination of social and political mores in regard to state ecological surface degradation, with an emphasis on twelve conventional southern and three nearby "fringe" states exhibiting southern characteristics. Second, the research examines the impact of the most salient sociopolitical factors that may influence littering, through environmental quality indicators and their consequences for the fifty United States. A review of relevant literature, on the American sociopolitical, legal, commercial and governmental activities that both create and curtail litter, focusing on the South and nearby states, is discussed. The review arrives at a conceptual, "real world" framework, identifying noteworthy factors that may lead to statewide environmental degradation: geographic location, demographic dynamics, environmental budgetary spending, political culture and availability of existing litter reducing legislation. These aspects become independent variables, operationalized into testable hypotheses through a multivariant model of regression analysis, with dependent variables of livability (quality of life) scores, waste disposal tonnage prices, and daily per person waste disposal for each state. Findings indicate the created regression models were insufficient to support an idea that scores, pricings and disposal amounts make adequate state-oriented ecological degradation determinants caused by littering. However, findings illustrate a state possessing southern-style Traditionalistic political culture and/or substantial concentrations of impoverished residents negatively affect its livability score. A state's concentration of impoverished individuals influence a chance to have waste disposal prices below the national market average, yet a state having beverage container return deposits influence a heightened waste disposal price for that state.


An Applied Research Project Submitted to the Department of Political Science, Texas State University-San Marcos, in Partial Fulfillment for the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Public Administration, Fall 2004.


littering, southern states, environmental qualities, ecological conditions, Public Administration


Spacek, S. L. (2004). DO MESS WITH IT!: A sociopolitical study of littering and the role of southern and nearby states. Masters of Public Administration, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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