Over 1 million pounds of roadside litter collected this year

Volunteers working to clean up litter along the highway.
Volunteers working to clean up litter along the highway.(Bill Murry)
Published: Mar. 6, 2021 at 8:00 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - As part of its litter removal efforts, N.C. Department of Transportation crews, contractors and volunteers have now collected more than 1 million pounds of litter from roadsides statewide this year.

“We are only just beginning this year’s efforts to clean up and prevent litter on our roadsides,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “But we need everyone’s help. We all are responsible for keeping North Carolina clean and beautiful.”

The NCDOT says they are looking for more people to help in the effort to clean up trash along the side of the highways here in the state.

“We depended heavily on our volunteers. We have our adopt a highway program that’s over 4500 groups strong I believe currently, and we also use two times a year in April and in September to have a big litter sweep effort,” said David Harris a State Roadside Environmental Engineer with NCDOT.

Harris says cleaning up litter cost millions of dollars and depending on the funding they received and where their priorities are that can affect the amount of money that goes into litter cleanup.

“The bad thing is, the next time we have a hurricane and everyone has to respond and clean up, repair pipes and bridges that’s money that goes away from programs like littler and mowing grass and cutting trees and rightfully so,” said Harris.

Some people think the state should do more to help with litter clean up.

“They need to allocate money to keep our highways clean. When you have people moving here the rate they do, and they see the highways that was something that really appalled us,” said Shelley Jonic.

North Carolinians looking to help keep the state’s roadways clean can volunteer for the upcoming Spring Litter Sweep, which will run from April 10-24.

Officials with DOT say litter can hurt tourism, the environment and the state’s quality of life. The most effective way to help litter removal efforts is to stop it at its source

Everyone should do their part by:

• Securing their loads before driving. Unsecured trash can fly from a vehicle and end up as roadside litter.

• Trash should be held onto until it can be disposed of properly. Keep a litter bag in your vehicle so you can properly dispose of trash later.

• Recycle whenever possible. Recycling protects our environment, saves landfill space and keeps the community clean.

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