More Than 1 Million Pounds Of Trash Collected From Maricopa County's Freeways In 2018
Trash on Maricopa County freeways has declined by almost 30 percent since 2006. That’s according to Don't Trash Arizona, a program that educates people about not littering.
But there is still a lot of debris. In 2018, ADOT collected more than 1 million pounds of trash from freeways and found State Route 51 to be the most littered.
Small objects like cigarette butts, plastic bags and beer cans made up much of the debris. But large objects sometimes fall from trucks, creating major hazards.
“Those can include everything from ladders to rakes to couches to couch cushions to furniture," said Kelly Taft, a spokeswoman with Don't Trash Arizona. "We’ve seen jacuzzis, we’ve seen pool slides — we’ve even seen urinals on the freeways that have been picked up by ADOT crews, so it can run the gamut.”
Trash on freeways can cause accidents, increase congestion and have a harmful economic impact.
Taft added that people tend to litter in slow-moving areas, such as on- and off-ramps where people have to slow down or perhaps stop at a metered light.
Also, litter on the freeway attracts more litter, as people tend to throw trash in places where they see trash.
Don't Trash Arizona is a program operated by the Maricopa Association of Governments and the Arizona Department of Transportation to address the environmental, economic, safety and health impacts of freeway litter along regional and state highways.