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NCDOT: 2021 is on pace to be record-breaking for roadside litter

Garbage alongside the highway
Sandra Burm - stock.adobe.com
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NCDOT reports that the agency and its partners have removed 7 million pounds of litter since Jan. 1. At this rate, NCDOT will exceed the 10.5 million pounds of litter collected in 2019.

The N.C. Department of Transportation’s crews, contractors, and volunteers have collected more than 7 million pounds of litter from roadsides since January 1, 2021. The state is on pace to exceed its record for litter collection — 10.5 million pounds — set in 2019.

So why is litter ramping back up?

“Easing COVID restrictions and summer break means more people out on the roads, and that means more people could be littering across our beautiful state,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette.

Litter is unsightly, costs millions of dollars to clean up, and can hurt the environment, tourism, and the state’s quality of life. To reduce litter waste, be sure to properly secure all truck or trailer loads before driving, clear loose items from truck beds, keep a trash basket in your vehicle, and refrain from throwing garbage out of the vehicle until it can be disposed of properly.

NCDOT officials also encourage residents to recycle when possible, to decrease contamination, save landfill space, and keep the community clean.

If you spot someone littering from their vehicle, you can report them with NCDOT’s Swat-A-Litterbug app. To download that app, visit ncdot.gov/litter.

“Whether you’re driving to the coast, the mountains, or anywhere in between, make sure to always secure your load and don’t throw trash out the window.”
Eric Boyette

NCDOT’s litter management programs are possible through state-owned forces and contract services statewide. NCDOT’s Sponsor-A-Highway Program allows businesses, organizations, and individuals to sponsor litter removal along roadsides. NCDOT also partners in the Adopt-A-Highway Program, where volunteers pledge to clean a section of our highways at least four times a year.

Biannual litter sweeps are held in the fall and spring. The next one is scheduled for Sept. 11-25, 2021.