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What's Bugging You? Trash on freeways

August 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Have you noticed our freeways lately? Traffic is bad enough. Then look to the sides and you see old tires, plastic bags, bottles and cups. "I am extremely bugged about the trash and the debris alongside our freeways," said San Dimas resident Joan Daste.

Daste sent Eyewitness News an e-mail after seeing accumulated trash on her daily commute along the 10 Freeway, much like on many freeways.

"It makes me so sad to see how people just throw the trash out," said Daste.

To give you an idea how much trash there is on our freeways: on average in Southern California alone Caltrans picks up about 50,000 cubic yards of trash. That's enough to fill up the L.A. Coliseum. Statewide, it's enough to fill up three Coliseums.

"It costs the taxpayers money," said Caltrans Deputy District Director for Maintenance Dan Freeman. "Last year we spent about $10 million picking up trash, litter and debris, all that sort of thing. That's money that we would have much rather spent on doing other things."

Caltrans sends out crews to clean up the mess, but it's hard to keep up.

Joan Daste wants to know what she can do to help out.

In Southern California there is the Adopt-A-Highway program. Individuals and companies take part in the cleanup.

"They pick up about 250,000 bags of litter and trash and debris every year, and that's a tremendous savings to the state, about $15 million on a statewide basis," said Freeman.

"The general public needs to do a better job of keeping their trash to themselves," said Daste. "Don't throw it out the windows."

It's all about courtesy and respect. Imagine clean freeways and that would save all of us a lot of money.


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