Another Litter Campaign?
Actually, it’s an ANTI-LITTER campaign! Did you know that Arkansas has the 12th largest highway system in the nation? That means more than 16,000 miles of roadway to maintain and keep litter free—that’s a lot! In 2020, Keep America Beautiful released the findings of its largest study on litter in America since 2009. The results showed that more than 50 billion pieces of litter land on American roadways each year. Of those 50 billion pieces, 26 billion pieces ended up along the waterways while 24 billion pieces remained on the roadside. That’s more than 2,000 pieces of litter per mile.
For Arkansas, that’s an average of 32 million pieces of litter annually.
In 1987, the Arkansas Highway Commission signed into action the Adopt-A-Highway Program (AAH). This program allows individuals, groups, businesses, etc., to volunteer and help keep Arkansas’ roadways clean. Despite these efforts, we still have a litter problem. In 2022, even during a pandemic, more than 1,900 AAH volunteers spent 1,890 hours collecting more than 3,000 bags of trash. ARDOT spent an additional $5 million collecting 46,854 cubic yards of trash. Picking up the trash is not the problem—LITTERING is!
Is It That Serious?
Bottom line: litter is trashy. It doesn’t belong on our roadways. Even the smallest things take time to decompose. A plastic water bottle takes 450 years to break down. If you toss a soda can, stick around for 200 years and it will still be there. Cigarette butts may be small, but they take 10 years to decompose because of the chemicals used to make them (psst… and don’t forget about their toxic substances that pollute the soil).
What Can You Do?
It’s simple: recycle when that’s an option, but if not, throw the trash away properly. Tell your friends and family to do the same thing. If we hold one another accountable, we can make a difference on Arkansas’ highways and our environment.
Keep It Clean Video
Keep It Clean Social Media Assets
Help ARDOT keep AR Highways Clean. Learn more at ardot.gov/keepitclean. #KeepItCleanArkansasTweet