NO MORE TRASH BASH: MoDOT searches for volunteers to clean up highways
JEFFERSON CITY – The clocks have sprung forward, and that means it’s time to spring into seasonal cleaning on Missouri’s roadways. In this transition between winter and spring, the Missouri Department of Transportation turns its attention to the trash on Missouri’s roadsides.
No MOre Trash! Bash is an annual outreach of MoDOT’s year-round litter control efforts that encourages all Missourians to “pitch in and pick up” during the month of April. The campaign is designed to help curb the costs of litter control and is timed to clear the roads of trash and debris before the start of mowing season.
In 2022, MoDOT spent $7.7 million to remove litter from more than 385,000 acres of right of way along nearly 34,000 state highway miles. For 2023, the work of MoDOT crews and additional litter pickup contracts in Kansas City and St. Louis are expected to bring that total to more than $9 million.
“We’re hoping all Missourians will pitch in and pick up trash this April to help us clean Missouri’s roadsides during our annual No MOre Trash! Bash,” said Becky Allmeroth, MoDOT chief safety and operations officer. “You don’t have to be part of a regular Adopt-A-Highway volunteer group to organize a one-time volunteer effort.”
According to a 2020 study by Keep America Beautiful, there were close to 24 billion pieces of litter on the nation’s roadways. That study concluded that if littering were to stop today and waste was properly managed, every American would only need to pick up 152 pieces of litter in a single unified effort to ensure a litter-free nation.
MoDOT will provide trash bags and safety vests to anyone who volunteers to take part in the No MOre Trash! Bash. Regionally, events will be announced to encourage community groups, clubs or individuals to join in the litter pickup.
“Missouri was one of the first states in the country to implement the Adopt-A-Highway program,” Allmeroth said. “This innovative volunteer program has recruited volunteers who perform about $1 million a year in litter cleanup. Every section served by adopters allows MoDOT to devote resources to other much-needed tasks.”
Currently, there are more than 5,300 groups and 50,000 volunteers who have adopted more than 6,200 miles of roadway. Adopt-A-Highway groups include commercial and private enterprises; civic and non-profit organizations; families and individuals.
While MoDOT encourages all Missourians to participate in the No MOre Trash! Bash, there are other simple ways to help eliminate trash along the state’s roadways:
· Don’t litter. Keep a bag for trash in your car or truck and wait to dispose of it properly. Littering is a class A misdemeanor in Missouri. Anyone convicted of littering may be imprisoned in the county jail for up to one year and fined up to $1,000 per incident. Illegal disposal of solid waste may be punishable as a Class D felony with fines of $20,000 or higher.
· Secure your load. Make sure nothing blows out or gets bumped into the roadway. In addition to creating litter, unsecured loads can be a safety hazard to the vehicles behind you. Missouri statutes (Missouri Revised Statutes 307.010) and various city ordinances require all loads in transport must be secured. Trailers without sides must be completely covered by tarps, truck tailgates must be up and the disposal items cannot be hanging off the vehicle in any way. Any vehicle without its load completely covered will be assessed a $25 unsecured load fee.
To learn more about how you can safely participate, visit www.modot.org/adopt-highway or call 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636).
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