IDOT campaign reminds motorists about cost of littering
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[April 10, 2021]
By Zeta Cross
(The Center Square) – Spring causing the
snow to melt means the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)
crews are out in force picking up litter.
“While IDOT is committed to maintaining a positive impression of
Illinois by having our maintenance teams collect litter from our
roadsides, we need your help,” Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary
Omer Osman said in a statement. “If the warmer temperatures make you
tempted to toss that food wrapper or pop can out your car window, please
don’t. Trash is more than just an eyesore. It has real, negative impacts
on both the environment and our communities.”
Pam Osborne, executive director of Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful in
Rockford, says that throwing trash and cigarette butts out car windows
and dumping takeout containers in parking lots winds up costing Illinois
taxpayers $6.1 million a year in cleanup costs.
“It is so disappointing to see trash all over the city,” Osborne said.
“Maybe people think what they are getting rid of is not much and it
really doesn’t matter, but you multiply that by thousands of people and
it comes out to a lot of trash.”
This year the trash problem has only gotten worse because of COVID-19,
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Heavy traffic is seen on an expressway near O'Hare airport in
Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017.
“People are throwing masks in parking lots and throwing gloves," she
said. "These items have a lot of bacteria in them. And somebody has
to pick them up.”
Osborne says IDOT’s campaign to "Think Before You Throw" is the
“It’s just not that hard to dispose of trash properly,” Osborne
said. “It is a matter of developing the habit."
Osborne suggests a simple solution.
“In the car, have a bag for garbage. Then when you get home, toss
the bag in the trash can before you go in your front door,” she
Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful works with school groups to get
kids to bring the anti-littering message home to their parents.