LITTER COSTS ALABAMA MILLIONS

No Dumping00000000

trash, waste, littering

By WVUA 23 Web Writer Codie Harris

A statewide litter cleanup costed the Alabama Department of Transportation $6.7 million in 2016 and collected about 6,000 tons of waste. In Tuscaloosa County, around 368 tons of litter were collected, costing ALDOT over $300,000.

Litter clutters roads, highways and interstates, leading to roadside accidents. The AAA foundation of Traffic Safety reported more than 200,000 crashes and 500 deaths, and around 39,000 injuries occurred between 2011-2014 due to roadside waste.

“It’s definitely a problem,” said Randy Latner, a 21-year veteran of the Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service. “You don’t want to respond to calls that are caused by roadside debris. It’s just unnecessary and something that can be prevented.”

According to the U.S. National Park Service, items like tin cans take 50 years to decompose, and plastic bottles take 450 years to break down.

Littering is a Class-C misdemeanor in Alabama. If you’re caught, you face a minimum fine of $250 for the first conviction, and $500 for each subsequent conviction.

“Litter is an embarrassment to our region and state,” said James Brown, West Central Region Engineer. “Alabama has many attractions that bring people in from other areas. We don’t have funding or personnel to pick up trash thrown on our highways by inconsiderate motorists. All of us need to be mindful of the negative impact we have when we litter our highways. It would be so simple to just put our trash in an appropriate place.”

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