This data story provides context to the Litter Index dataset. The Community Appearance Survey is conducted yearly by Keep Norfolk Beautiful and volunteers who measure litter to target ways to keep our city clean.

About the Dataset

The Community Appearance Index, also known as the Litter Index, is a tool designed by Keep America Beautiful to visually evaluate the overall appearance of a community using litter as an indicator. Keep Norfolk Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, conducts the Community Appearance Survey for the City of Norfolk. 

Keep Norfolk Beautiful

Keep Norfolk Beautiful is a unit within the Department of Public Works which leads the community to reduce litter, recycle right, and beautify Norfolk through education and volunteerism. These efforts help support clean, safe, and resilient neighborhoods.

How this Data is Collected

Every year, 60 routes throughout the five wards of Norfolk are analyzed to determine the cleanliness of the city. After a thorough training, a team of volunteers conduct the analysis using a scoring system ranging from 1-4 with “1” indicating minimal to no litter and “4” indicating extremely littered. It takes a day and a half to drive 12 routes in each of the city's five wards, for a total of 60. Each of the routes varies in length from half a mile to a mile. Keep Norfolk Beautiful has used the same routes for the last eight years to create a baseline and standard for measuring litter in our city. Driving the same routes ensures consistency in measurements as well as coverage of a broad distribution of sites within the city.  The results of the scan are then averaged to produce the City of Norfolk Community Appearance Index score.

Visualizing the Data

This table shows the average litter score by Ward between the years of 2010 and 2019. 
The scoring system ranges from 1-4 with “1” indicating minimal to no litter and “4” indicating extremely littered.

How this Data Informs Decisions 

This data allows the staff of Keep Norfolk Beautiful (KNB) to create targeted litter prevention and removal campaigns. For example, following the assessment one year, Fleta Jackson of KNB says they worked with residents to target a specific means of reducing litter: tying trash bags before placing them in outdoor collection bins. “We created a campaign specific to the neighborhood,” Jackson said. Adding these data to the portal ensures that residents “have all the tools they need to make a difference in keeping communities clean,” Jackson said.