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Trash talk: Record amount of litter collected on NC highways and state roads

NCDOT says they have picked up more litter this year than any year previous
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 6:23 PM EDT
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You may have noticed— lots of trash sprinkled in pockets across the state.

We’re not even done with the year and the NCDOT has already set a record when it comes to litter collected on state roads and highways.

NCDOT says they have picked up more litter this year than any year previous.

That’s more than 11 million pounds of trash statewide since the beginning of the year.

Take a step outside.

It may look trashy.

NCDOT says at the beginning of the year, they had a surplus of litter to pick up.

WBTV learned, during the pandemic when people started quarantining and weren’t traveling as much, their budget took a hit.

NCDOT is funded by the gas tax so with not as many people driving, they needed to cut back on programs like litter pickup.

However, right now, they’re at normal pickup levels.

“So all of the litter we’re dealing with now – we’re kind of back to business as usual – and if people see all this litter, it’s not that we’re not picking it up, we are; it’s ending up on roadways faster than we can pick up in many such cases,” said NCDOT’s Harris Kay.

Charlotte resident Marina Cawthra said, “It seems to be every time I walk my dogs or go to the park and stuff . . . there’s just a lot of litter.”

NCDOT has spent about 15 million dollars this year on litter pickup.

There are so many ways you can get involved to deal with littering:

- Adopt-A-Highway Program: a group adopts a segment of a highway and pledges to go out there at least 4 times a year to pick up https://www.ncdot.gov/initiatives-policies/environmental/adoptahighway/Pages/default.aspx

-Sponsor-A-Highway Program: can sponsor segments of highways, paying contractors to go out and pick up litter https://www.ncdot.gov/initiatives-policies/environmental/sponsorahighway/Pages/default.aspx

- Swat-A-Litterbug: report people who throw litter out of their cars https://www.ncdot.gov/initiatives-policies/environmental/litter-management/Pages/swat-a-litter-bug.aspx

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