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Examiner
  • Jerry Plantz: Do your part to end highway litter

  •  While driving north on Interstate 435 last week, I couldn’t help but notice the litter strewn along the highway. My thoughts raced from anger to inquisitiveness. Why are motorists such inconsiderate, squalid litter bugs?                           

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  •  While driving north on Interstate 435 last week, I couldn’t help but notice the litter strewn along the highway. My thoughts raced from anger to inquisitiveness. Why are motorists such inconsiderate, squalid litter bugs?                            
    The Missouri Department of Transportation is broken down into seven districts. The Kansas City District, with headquarters in Lee’s Summit, is responsible for highway maintenance in nine counties comprising some 8,237 miles with 400 maintenance workers. Their work includes mowing, snow removal, pothole repairs and litter cleanup.
    Steve Porter, a senior specialist with MoDOT tells me the agency needs all the help it can get in preventing littering. Many motorists are not aware that some of the litter they throw on the mowing areas could be dangerous to MoDOT employees.
    MoDOT has three to five mowing cycles a year, and Porter says its people are finding more and more disgusting “urine bombs.” Many drivers, including long-hauler truck drivers, don’t want to stop so they use container and throw them onto the highway.”
    MODOT does have a “No MOre Trash” clean up campaign each April. In April 2011, more than 157, 000 bags of trash were removed. MODOT spends $5.8 million annually and its Adopt-A-Highway volunteers provide another $1 million worth of litter pickup every year.
    If you have some friends, relatives or belong to any organization or club, you can adopt a highway. It costs nothing, and MoDOT will even post a sign with your name on it. It will give you vests and patrol the highway as you clean up litter. It makes for a great community involvement project.
    The “No MOre Trash” site even has an anti-litter pledge that reads: “I promise to do my part to make and keep Missouri litter free. I promise to keep my house, my yard and my town clean and free of trash. I will throw my trash away and pick up trash when I see it. I will tell my family and friends about No MOre Trash!”
    Here are their salient reasons why you should not litter: 
    • It poses health risks.
    • It harms water quality and wildlife habitat.
    • It is associated with increased crime.
    • It creates an ugly and disheartening environment.
    • It costs lots of money and time to clean up.
    If you would like to pitch in, including adopting a highway, call MoDOT at 816-622-6500.
    I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.
    Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at jerryplantz@msn.com.
     

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