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NCDOT sees spike in litter reporting

More than 9,600 Swat-A-Litterbug reports were made in 2008, up from 7,800 reports in 2007.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Transportation saw a 23 percent spike in the number of roadside littering incidents reported through its Swat-A-Litterbug program last year.

More than 9,600 littering reports were made in 2008, up from 7,800 reports in 2007.

"We pick up more than 10 million pounds of litter each year,” said George Kapetanakis, with the DOT's Office of Beautification Programs.

Kapetanakis says littering costs the state $16 million a year.

"We could be putting those dollars and those resources somewhere else” if people didn't throw trash along roadsides, Kapetanakis said.

Through the Swat-A-Litterbug program, people seen littering are sent a letter signed by the colonel of the State Highway Patrol. It informs the person that someone observed them littering and reminds them that littering is illegal.

Fines for littering range from $250 to $2,000 and can double on subsequent convictions.

“The Swat-A-Litterbug program plays an important role in keeping motorists accountable for their actions,” said Transportation Secretary Gene Conti. “It also gives people a simple and easy way to aid in the state’s litter-prevention efforts.”

Anyone who observes littering can make a report through the mail, over the phone or online through the Office of Beautification Programs’ Swat-A-Litterbug Web site.

"I do see some of that (littering) sometimes,” motorist Robert Mera said. "I think it is a little gross and immature. We should know better at this point."

Information required to make a report includes the vehicle's license plate number, date and time of the incident, street name, city (if applicable), county and kind of littering observed.

To call in a Swat-A-Litterbug report, dial 1-877-DOT-4YOU.


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