NCDOT Spring Litter Sweep underway along local roadways

3.1 million pounds already collected since January 1

Spring litter sweep to clear trash from N.C. roadsides

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - If you’re tired of seeing trash on the highway or on the roads where you live, you may be getting some relief this month. The NCDOT is doing the Spring Litter Sweep between now and April 24.

State crews are out cleaning, and so are volunteer groups, but the state says it needs more help from volunteers.

To help keep trash off North Carolina roadways, the state enlisted the help of native son and country music star Luke Combs.

“Hey guys, Luke Combs here,” the announcement says. “We’re from one of the most beautiful places in the world and we need to do our part to keep it that way.”

He’s talking about keeping roadside free of trash. Is it a big problem? Drivers have different opinions depending on where they travel across the state. Alfred Weathers was on way to Chapel Hill on I-85 on Thursday.

“An awful lot of trash, it seems like it’s more back up my way, Cleveland and Rutherford County, especially the secondary roads,” Weathers said. “They’re not getting around to picking it up and it’s rally bad and it’s unfortunate that people can’t hold that trash for a moment or two until they can dispose of it.”

April is the Spring Litter Sweep. DOT crews are picking up trash, but they’re also encouraging individuals and groups to join in the effort. Volunteers are provided cleanup supplies, such as reversible orange/blue trash bags, gloves and orange safety vests. Alfred belonged to a group that did that.

“And we kept it looking good,” Weathers recalled.

Traditionally scheduled for the last two weeks of April and September, Litter Sweep is the N.C. Department of Transportation’s biannual statewide roadside litter removal initiative. Residents throughout the state participate in local efforts to help clean up North Carolina’s roadways.

In addition to volunteers, NCDOT maintenance crews devote one week of their time to pick up litter and collect orange bags placed on the roadsides by volunteer pickups.

Cathy and Richard Erdely are from Rhode Island. Their perception of North Carolina seem to indicate that the clean up is having an impact.

“I feel like that out of all the state that we go through, that the Carolinas are probably one of the cleaner of the states,” Cathy Erdely said.

And according to a press release, as part of its litter removal efforts, N.C. Department of Transportation crews, contractors and volunteers have now collected more than 3 million pounds of litter from roadsides this year.

“This is great progress towards making North Carolina cleaner and safer,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “But the real challenge will be sustaining these litter-free roadways. We must all work towards stopping litter at its source.”

NCDOT reports that the agency and its partners have removed 3.1 million pounds of litter since Jan. 1.

NCDOT’s litter management programs are multifaceted. The department makes use of 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 is also proud to partner with the more than 120,000 participants in the Adopt-A-Highway Program, where volunteers pledge to clean a section of our highways at least four times a year.

Litter is unsightly, costs millions of dollars to clean up and can hurt the environment, tourism and the state’s quality of life.

NCDOT says everyone should do their part by:

  • Securing their loads before driving. Unsecured trash can fly from a vehicle and end up as roadside litter.
  • Holding onto trash until it can be disposed of properly. Keep a litter bag in your vehicle so you can properly dispose of trash later.
  • Recycling when possible. Recycling protects the environment, saves landfill space and keeps the community clean.

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