State seeks Spring Litter Sweep volunteers
Amber Revels-Stocks | Restoration NewsMedia
Tomas Perez-Kuryla, left, and his mother Karen Perez-Kuryla clean up litter in Youngsville during a foggy morning on March 27.
It’s time to clean up North Carolina.
State transportation workers and partners have already picked up more than a million pounds of litter from roadsides in 2021, but much more cleaning is needed, and that takes volunteers, said state roadside engineer David Harris of the N.C. Department of Transportation.
“In just two months, NCDOT and our partner organizations have picked up over 1 million pounds of litter,” Harris said “We need to keep that momentum moving forward. The annual Litter Sweep is a great opportunity to get outdoors with family and friends and work alongside NCDOT to ensure North Carolina remains a beautiful place to live and work.”
For two weeks beginning Saturday, the DOT will hold its annual Adopt-A-Highway Spring Litter Sweep, said agency spokeswoman Lauren Haviland.
“There’s still plenty of time to sign up for the Spring Litter Sweep,” Haviland said.
Volunteers will be provided with cleanup supplies including trash bags, gloves and safety vests. Everyone will be asked to observe COVID-19 safety protocols, which means wearing a mask and gloves at all times while keeping at least 6 feet apart from other volunteers. Anyone who’s been diagnosed with or recently exposed to COVID-19 should refrain from participating.
‘WE NEED TO DO OUR PART’
Sweeps take place each April and September. Volunteers from local businesses, schools, nonprofits, churches, municipalities, law enforcement and community groups play an important role in keeping North Carolina’s roads clean, according to state transporation officials.
In a public service announcement, Luke Combs, a North Carolina native and multiplatinum country music artist, has called on residents statewide to keep North Carolina beautiful and keep litter off the state’s roads and highways.
“We are from one of the most beautiful places in the world, and we need to do our part to help keep it that way,” Combs said in the announcement recorded for use by the NCDOT.
State Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette thanked Combs in a press release for “volunteering his time to help spread the word. Litter is an issue that affects everyone, and we need everyone’s help to stop it.”
Folks can now help catch a litterbug on the web with the launch of a new app. Anyone interested can sign up using a computer or mobile device for the new Swat-A-Litterbug internet application that allows users to report when they see someone toss litter from a vehicle.
Litterbugs will receive a formal notification letter from the N.C. State Highway Patrol informing them about their littering offense as well as the penalties for littering and a note urging them to keep North Carolina beautiful and clean.
North Carolinians can access the web app by visiting ncdot.gov/litter. First-time users will be given the option of adding a shortcut to their phone’s home screen or computer’s desktop.
Everyone’s help is needed to keep North Carolina clean and prevent litter from accumulating on the roadsides, Boyette said.
“We all are responsible for keeping North Carolina clean and beautiful,” said Boyette, who got a head start on this year’s Spring Litter Sweep by picking up trash recently along the Knightdale bypass in Wake County.
Litter is unsightly, costs millions of dollars to clean up and can hurt tourism, the environment and the state’s quality of life. The most effective way to aid litter removal efforts is to stop it at its source. State officials urge everyone to do their part by:
• Securing loads before driving. Unsecured trash can fly from a vehicle and end up as roadside litter.
• Trash should be held onto until it can be disposed of properly. Keep a litter bag in your vehicle so you can properly dispose of trash later.
• Recycle whenever possible. Recycling protects the environment, saves landfill space and keeps the community clean.
To sign up for the Spring Litter Sweep or to obtain more information, call 919-707-2970 or visit the Litter Sweep webpage via the shortened link https://bit.ly/3dBDPMf.
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