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Friday, May 11, 2018

Littering is a growing problem - It's time to change that

By Assistant District Engineer Mark Croarkin

Trash on our state roads and/or right-of-way is a growing problem in Missouri. It impairs public health, pollutes the environment and can even lead to crashes on the highways.

Each year, MoDOT spends more than $5 million to clear litter along Missouri highways. In the St. Louis region, over the past few years there has been a significant increase in the volume of trash left on our roadway system.

Cleaning the trash off the highways has become an issue that maintenance crews alone cannot keep under control.  There has been one instance where crews from a single maintenance building picked up more than 1300 bags of trash in one week. To offset that, MoDOT offers an Adopt-A-Highway program that provides volunteers the opportunity to select an area that they will commit to pick up litter at least four times a year. 

Everyone can make a difference by educating friends, neighbors and co-workers. Loose trash is more likely to end up on the roadways than bagged trash. Simple acts such as bagging trash at home, work or community events can account to saving millions of dollars and a far more attractive region.

When driving, never let trash escape from the car. Keep it contained in a bag inside of the vehicle. Help create a culture where people speak up when they see someone with loose trash or an unsecured load on a truck.

Littering is illegal and law enforcement is on the watch out for offenders. The act can lead to a class A misdemeanor with a $1000 fine and up to one year imprisonment.

Come and join the journey to making a cleaner and healthier Missouri by eliminating litter. For more information on how to get involved, please visit

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