Local News

State Adds More Work Crews To Clean Up Litter

Posted September 6, 2002

— Last year, inmate work crews picked up more than 12 million pounds of roadside trash. However, garbage still clutters the state's highways. Budget problems threatened to make the problem worse, but the state has a new approach to cleaning up litter.

Until now, the state ran road crews of 12 inmates, which required three guards. The state is reducing the crew to eight inmates, requiring only two guards. The difference in manpower adds up to 30 extra crews. Instead of 110 trash pickup crews statewide, there are now 140 crews.

Drivers, who claim they are fed up with looking at all the trash, say something needs to be done.

"It reflects bad on everybody because we ought to be adult enough to not throw our litter out there like we do, but instead we do it anyway," motorist Matthew Wyand said.

"It's just a nasty mess, if you don't want to look like New York City, you know, clean it up," motorist Jerry Apple said.

There is also another twist to the roadside cleanup plan. Crews used to respond to individual complaints and, at times, would end up missing many sections of highway for months. Now the trash squads have a preplanned schedule. Officials with the state Department of Transportation say every major interstate will get a trash sweep at least once a month.

DOT officials say it had to get creative because a tight state budget did not allow additional funds for roadside trash cleanup.

Motorists can also help swat a litterbug by reporting people to the DOT. There is a mail-in or e-mail form on its

Web site

. The DOT will sent a letter to the litterbug, reminding them that littering is a $1,000 fine. So far this year, more than 3,500 people have received a letter from the state.


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