Litter is defined as any trash that is not put in the correct container, and instead, left in an open area. 

Littering is a problem for every community in a few different ways.

  • Trash that accumulates in public areas such as along roads or in parks can make the area seem not cared for and unsafe.

  • Roadside litter is carried by  stormwater through the storm drains into local streams, and potentially into the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers.

  • Litter could reach the County's major sources for drinking water.

Volunteer with us!

Want to pick up litter, organize a stream cleanup, or help educate your community about water pollution issues? Volunteer with our Stream Stewards Program!

Litter in a stream


Litter that ends up in our environment will eventually be carried to our rivers and streams causing water pollution. Even small pieces of trash like straw wrappers or organic material such as banana peels need to be disposed of properly. Every piece of litter that ends up in our waterways can be problematic to the water quality and disrupt the natural environment.

Help us reduce litter and trash in our waterways:

Learn about other pollutants entering our waterways and how you can help prevent them:



Litter collected during a stream cleanupA few of the bags collected during a stream cleanup.  Much of the litter in our streams is bottles, cans and bags.  Become a  Stream Steward to help us clean litter form streams. 

White Oak Neighborhood Antiā€Littering Pilot

The White Oak Neighborhood is the site of an anti-littering pilot project focused on behavior change and education.  The County has developed a proposal for targeted outreach which focuses on identifying advocates within the community to work on educating residents and visitors about the litter issues and specific programs to encourage people to stop littering for the good of those who live and work there.

The County will continue to work with all members of the community from residents, property managers, business employees, community groups, and students to educate people about the importance of not littering and change behavior by disposing of trash properly

View a history of the White Oak Neighborhood Anti-Littering Pilot (PDF, 684KB)