Littered Roadways Creating a Trashy Image
Posted February 21, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — Roadsides littered with trash looks bad, but who is responsible for cleaning up the mess? The state offers cities and towns money for local beautification projects, but it is apparently not enough.
"Overwhelming" is one way state officials are describing the current litter problem along North Carolina's highways. Trash is piling up faster than state workers and volunteers can pick it up.
"We really are looking to law enforcement to help us with this and start ticketing more people for littering. Even if it's just ticketing people for traveling with an unsecured load," says Helen Landi of the N.C. Department of Transportation.
Landi runs the state's beautification programs and says the trash piling up is "like rain pouring into a boat and you're using a Dixie cup to bail it. It's just unbelievable."
Landi says the department doesn't have enough money to solve the problem.
A WRAL Hot Button Poll says higher taxes are not the answer. Eighty two percent of respondents say they are not willing to pay more for litterbug abatement.
Cary town officials are making do with the money they have. On Monday, a landscaping company was out planting trees along the Cary Parkway.
"Everybody tries to do their part, pretty much, to keep it clean. I see Cary crews out here all the time," says landscaper Calvin Bright.
One man who gets an earful about the litter problem is Rick Rowe with Wake County's Environmental Services.
Rowe says law enforcement officers need to pull out their ticket books more often.
"With law enforcement, it comes down to where you put that in the priority," says Rowe.
Thelawnow calls for a $500 fine for a first littering offense. A second offense could run close to $1,000 and a point on your drivers license.