Litter has become a cultural issue, affecting roads, streams, and the environment on a global scale.
Along Indiana highways, litter degrades the environment, poses a safety hazard, impacts water quality, and reduces the natural beauty of our state.
INDOT is using a public communication educational campaign and physical litter collections to reduce litter along Indiana highways. This anti-litter effort is part of INDOT’s Next Level Roads initiative, which dedicates more than $30 billion over 20 years to improving the conditions of existing Indiana roads and bridges – both state and local -- finishing major projects, and building for the future.
INDOT spends more than $30 million each year to clean up Indiana roadways through mowing, herbicide application, removal of undesirable trees and shrubs, and litter removal. INDOT anti-litter efforts include partnering with private contractors to aid in litter collection along highway rights-of-way, which reduces the number of state employees doing this work. INDOT also utilizes other employees in litter cleanup, supports Adopt-a-Highway and Sponsor-a-Highway programs, and assists with volunteer Trash Bash! efforts.
According to Keep America Beautiful Inc., people litter because:
- They feel no sense of ownership
- They believe it is someone else’s job to pick up litter
- Litter has already accumulated
Keep America Beautiful studies indicate that there are seven primary sources of roadside litter:
- Uncovered truck loads
- Household trash handling and its placement for collection
- Uncovered dumpsters and receptacles
- Commercial loading docks
- Construction and demolition loads
Loose litter and debris are moved by wind and traffic and can be carried by water. It moves until trapped within vegetation or by a drain, curb, building or fence. Once litter has accumulated, people feel less guilty about adding to it, and the problem rapidly grows.
You can help keep Indiana highways clean:
- Dispose of and secure trash properly
- Use a litter bag in your vehicle instead of pitching it out the window
- Secure all items on your trucks
- Regularly inspect and replace your tires