Missouri litter costs around $6 million annually

Monday, April 9, 2012 | 7:44 a.m. CDT; updated 10:11 a.m. CDT, Monday, April 9, 2012

ST. LOUIS — State officials say cleaning up litter along Missouri's highways costs about $5 million a year.

In addition to the highways, a spokesman for the state Department of Conservation says that agency spends about $1 million a year to pick up litter in the state's forests, conservation areas and river access.

Spokesman Dan Zarlenga said the agency writes hundreds of tickets a year to litterbugs.

To bring attention to the problem, the Missouri departments of transportation and conservation are holding their annual No MOre Trash! effort, which runs through the month of April.

The state is seeking volunteers to pick up trash this month, but mostly it is asking Missouri residents not to litter in the first place.

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Roger Dowis April 9, 2012 | 8:28 a.m.

The problem of littering in Columbia has become a growing problem over the past 10 years. In fact, you can't go anywhere without seeing left over trash from fast-food, not to mention much larger items, throughout our neighborhoods and businesses.

People treat our city as though it's their own private land fill. It hurts property values, causes crime to increase, and the costs the taxpayers a great deal of money that could be spent elsewhere.

I hope the participants in this annual summit will be searching for something more than just volunteers to clean up. We really need a preventative program that is ongoing, to educate the public. We also see law enforcement (CPD and MSHP) to start writing some tickets for those who refuse to respect the rights of others.

(Report Comment)
Gary Straub April 9, 2012 | 10:06 a.m.

I wholeheartedly agree, I have to pick up trash from my yard almost daily. Littering is a sign of disrespect and symbolizes how a neighborhood is thought about. I would like to see signs put up in areas with high litter problems that tell the maximum fines for throwing trash on the street. Also this would be a good use of cameras. They could be placed in locations where there is a high problem, identifying the culprits, followed by a stiff fine. Respect can't be enforced but laws can.

(Report Comment)

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