Local News

Keeping NC Clean and Green Not So Easy

Posted February 25, 1998

— Winter's rains have torn away our grass to reveal a dirty secret. Raleigh's roads aren't so clean. It's a problem that some say is getting worse because of all the debris left along the highways.

Road litter is a big problem in this state. During an 11 day period in January, the state collected 3,600 bags of trash from the roads. Some of it falls off trucks, some is thrown out of cars. Regardless of where it came from, it's leaving a big mess.

The traffic isn't the only thing growing in the Triangle. Just look on the side of the road, and you'll likely find a beer bottle here, an empty oil can there. It all adds up to an unsightly mess alongside North Carolina's roads.

Helen Landi says people don't know the litter laws, and they aren't strictly enforced. Adopt-a-Highway groups make pickups four times a year. But Landi says people are trashing things faster than the volunteers can pick up the debris.

"People go out," Landi explains, "They do their four pickups, and it doesn't make a difference. It's dirty again a week later. They are doing their part. The litter problem has become so massive, they just can't keep up."

In January, the state decided to make road trash a top priority. Now people ordered to do community service are cleaning up the roads. Hopefully, with more help, the area around the state's highways can once again become clean and green.

There were over 73,000 people in the community service program last year. Judges decide which of those people fulfill their requirements by picking up trash.

To report "trashy" roadways in Wake County for possible inclusion in community service programs, call 733-5100.

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