It takes more than inmates and community service to keep our roads clean. You can help this year during the Litter Sweep Spring 2012.
The Litter Sweep begins April 14 and lasts until April 28.
To help, you can organize a roadside cleanup and coordinate it with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), county maintenance or the Adopt-A-Highway Coordinator.
The NCDOT will have supplies that you can use, such as orange safety vests, gloves, orange bags for general trash, blue bags for recycling items and pickup sticks, but you will need to call in advance to reserve your supplies.
“Leave filled orange bags at least 8 feet from the roadside and call the NCDOT office for pickup,” explained the NCDOT Biannual Cleanup Drive. “Provide them with bag location and number of orange bags to be picked up.”
The blue recycling bags should be taken to a recycling facility of your choice and any money earned is yours to keep.
“Remember — it is illegal to dispose of aluminum cans and plastic bottles at the landfill,” said the NCDOT.
While gathering trash, keep your eyes peeled for rare and unusual finds. You could win as much as $250 for the most unusual roadside litter found during the cleanup. One year a child found a diamond ring. You can download the entry form at www.keepncbeautiful.org, complete and mail the form and attach a photograph of the item with the person who found it, and identify the name of the road where the litter was found.
When you participate in the Litter Sweep you will receive a certificate of appreciation for participating when you download the certificate request form at www.ncdot.gov/~beautification and complete the form and mail or fax it.
While litter sweeping, park in areas that provide safe entrance and exit of the pickup area. Be sure not to create a hazard with other vehicles and equipment. All volunteers must wear orange NCDOT vests, and the NCDOT recommends wearing long-sleeve shirts, gloves and high-top boots.
Pick up litter only during daylight hours. Face oncoming traffic when on foot. Stay off the road at least 5 feet from the pavement edge. Do not pick up litter in ditches, tunnels, on road surfaces, bridges, overpasses or medians. Avoid any construction.
All volunteers must be at least 12 years old. Adults older than 21 must be present with groups that have volunteers 12-17 years of age. Prepare by having available first aid kits on hand and by knowing the fastest route to a hospital. Prior to heading out for collection, conduct a safety meeting for all volunteers and go over all safety procedures, rules and guidelines. View the “North Carolina Adopt-A-Highway Safety” video and the “Colorado Meth Lab Waste Recognition” video prior to participating in a cleanup. You can access all safety information and videos at www.ncdot.gov/~beautification.
“Don’t trash our highways,” urged M.W. Gilchrist, Colonel of North Carolina Highway Patrol. “Debris that is tossed or falls from your vehicle becomes a safety hazard to other drivers. Make sure your loads are secure and that no loose trash can fly out of your open window or your truck bed. Littering is a violation of state law that the Highway Patrol takes seriously.”
To contact the Adopt-A-Highway Coordinator Darlene Johnson call 910-582-7075.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.