More than 8 million pounds of litter have been collected from state roadsides so far this year.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s crews, contractors and volunteers collected the 8 million pounds of litter since Jan. 1. At this rate, NCDOT said it will exceed the 10.5 million pounds of litter collected in 2019.
“We’re less than two months away from our annual Fall Litter Sweep, and we’re counting on everyone to help keep this momentum going,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette in a statement. “Please do your part by securing your loads before traveling, throw away trash in garbage bins, recycle when you can and make sure your friends and family do the same.”
When consumer goods, typically single-use disposables, are littered or improperly managed, this trash can find its way into rivers, streams and other waterways, which end up in oceans, where the trash becomes marine debris, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. “Trash, packaging, and improperly disposed waste from sources on land accounts for 80% of the marine debris found on beaches during cleanups and surveys.”
Marine debris can cause a range of problems including injure or kill marine and coastal wildlife, damage and degrade habitats, interfere with navigational safety, cause economic loss to fishing and maritime industries, degrade the quality of life in coastal communities and threaten human health and safety, according to the Department of Interior.
Litter prevention starts with the awareness of state litter laws that improperly disposing trash of any kind can be illegal.
“Not only is it unsightly, litter costs millions of dollars to clean up and can have a negative impact on tourism and how people perceive the state while they travel through it,” according to the state.
NCDOT’s Sponsor-A-Highway Program allows businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor litter removal along roadsides. NCDOT is also partners 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.
If you spot someone littering from their vehicle, report them with NCDOT’s Swat-A-Litterbug app by downloading the app at ncdot.gov/litter.