Local News

Cleaning Up Is A Dirty Job, But Everyone Has To Do It

Posted September 30, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Wherever you drive in North Carolina, you're likely to see trash on the road, in spite of a well-publicized anti-litter campaign engineered by theDepartment of Transportation.

The DOT says it is doing its part, along with thousands of volunteers. Now, the agency wants to put everyone else in the driver's seat.

As quickly as prison crews can clean up parts of Interstate 40, litter piles up again.

Transportation Secretary Norris Tolson salutes the people who try to keep up with the mess.

"I'd give these folks an A+," Tolson says. "But I'd give all of us as citizens an F, because just as fast as they pick it up, we go back out and re-litter the sides of the roads. It's terrible."

A year ago, the DOT started a new program to clean up its roads. So far, the program has been a limited success.

Officials acknowledge the process is ongoing. Tolson says the next step is increased enforcement.

"I'm going to ask my DMV people who are out there, I'm going to have them start looking at writing tickets on litter. We're going to ask our colleagues in the Highway Patrol to step up the process of writing tickets," Tolson says.

The other weapon in the DOT arsenal is a new, $60,000 litter machine.

NC Beautification Director Helen Landi explains its capabilities. "It picked up about 75 tons of litter between the Johnston-Wake County line and the Wilmington city line on [Interstate] 40 recently." Unfortunately, she adds, the area is already littered again.

If you want to volunteer for theAdopt-A-Highway program, call1-800-331-5864.