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Eliminating litter

On Easter Sunday, one could reasonably expect to see small pops of color scattered through the grass as spring flowers bloom and eggs wait for children to find them.

Everywhere we look around the local region, there are colorful objects on the ground — but they are not signs of spring. Instead, they are signs of our carelessness and disrespect for one another and the planet.

From beverages cans to plastic bags, paper cups and even large objects such as old tires and bathroom fixtures, litter is scattered all across the area.

While we might think that the stay-at-home orders, business closures and reduced travel associated with the COVID-19 pandemic would have reduced the amount of trash tossed from moving vehicles, litter has not declined over the past year. In fact, the problem has gotten worse.

According to representatives of the Ohio Department of Transportation, the amount of litter that has fallen from garbage trucks or been discarded by long-haul truck drivers has not been reduced through the pandemic. What has declined, though, is ODOT’s ability to mobilize workers and volunteers to clean up all that garbage. So, it continues to lie along our roadsides, creating an eyesore for everyone who passes through the region.

There is some good news, however. ODOT is making some strides toward cleaning up the trash that has accumulated seemingly everywhere.

Not only has the department received the go-ahead to relaunch its Adopt-a-Highway program, but its also has agreed to partner with the Monroe County Board of Commissioners on a cleanup project to be conducted this month. With ODOT involved, volunteers with get the proper training and appropriate equipment to complete this dirty job safely.

We live in a beautiful area that has been marred by litter. Those who love our region should do all that we can to remedy the situation. We urge area residents, then, to get involved.

If your family or a group you are affiliated with can “adopt” a highway, please consider doing so. Participation in the program requires regular cleanups of a specific stretch of roadway. Details can be found at transportation.ohio.gov/odot/about-us/resources/adopt-a-highway.

If you aren’t quite ready to make that type of commitment, consider getting involved in or organizing a one-time cleanup project. ODOT can help with that, too, as can the JB Green Team. Visit jbgreenteam.org to learn how to get the equipment you need.

And remember that JB Green Team also offers opportunities for recycling across the region. Each piece of “trash” that we recycle properly helps reduce the amount of litter that could end up scattered about.

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