Let’s clamp down on litter

The Triangle region is a wonderful place to live, and North Carolina is a beautiful state.  We have wonderful vistas and landscapes, attractive cities and towns, and some of the most welcoming and civic-minded people you will ever meet.

One simple way we can demonstrate this hospitality to both residents and visitors alike is how we take care of our roadsides.

Highway corridors free of litter send a positive message to tourists, as well as our local community. We all know that littering is unsightly. It is also highway pollution. It costs literally millions to clean up — that is maintenance money that could otherwise be put to better uses.

Littering can be unsafe. And it is always illegal. Truck beds with unsecured loads are one cause. So is direct littering.

Whether inadvertent or intentional, litter hurts our environment, and my sense is that it also hurts our spirits when we see roadsides strewn with litter, from whatever cause.

Simply put — we can all do better, and we can all help clamp down on litter.

Is there something we can do? Yes. In fact, there are several somethings.

NCDOT’s spring cleanup — entitled the 2021 Spring Litter Sweep — begins this weekend. You can sign up to participate in the spring litter sweep here.

In addition, if you see someone litter, you can call 800-331-5864 or use this mobile web tool.

Everyone from citizens to country music singer-songwriters are getting into the act.

Depending on your perspective, the following may be good or bad news: NCDOT, along with various partners and volunteers, have removed more than 3 million pounds of litter just since January 1st of this year, through programs including the Sponsor-A-Highway Program and the voluntary Adopt-A-Highway Program.

Hopefully they won’t have to collect as much for the remainder of the year. Voluntary compliance — with a helpful reminder — can make a difference.

Meanwhile, RTA will continue to elevate this issue, and partner with NCDOT as part of an ongoing partnership task force that is focused on this issue.

I again thank RTA travel experience chair Jim Beley, with The Umstead Hotel and Spa, and RTA tourism and business travel chair Denny Edwards, with the Greater Raleigh CVB, for serving on this task force and leading on this effort!

Joe Milazzo II, PE
Executive Director, Regional Transportation Alliance


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