A 13-year-old wrote in the March 31 letter “Littering plan” about North Carolina roads looking like an interstate landfill, and he wondered why state government doesn’t use more prisoners to clean up the mess.
Due to necessary budget tightening over the years, several small prison units that had inmate work crews have been closed, and funds designated for those crews lost. It costs taxpayer money to transport and supervise inmate work crews that clean up roadsides.
The letter writer is right; North Carolina’s litter problem is embarrassing, ridiculous and inexcusable. People need to take responsibility, be considerate and dispose of trash properly. Last year, state taxpayers spent more than $16 million to clean up roadside trash. Despite these efforts, our state’s environment and natural beauty continues to be marred by reckless and careless litterers. When people do the right thing and stop littering, that $16 million can be spent on other important issues.
The Department of Public Safety’s Litter Free NC campaign was launched recently to bring attention to this important issue and raise awareness about the safety hazards litter presents. The campaign reminds motorists to secure their loads in truck beds and keep trash and other debris from accidentally blowing out of the back of trucks and windows. Litter Free NC emphasizes prevention rather than cleanup. The more public participation generated the better chance we have of reducing the amount of litter in North Carolina. Prevention can cure this offensive and often dangerous eyesore.
Secretary, N.C. Department of Public Safety