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NC’s upcoming Litter Sweep event calls for volunteers

A+candy+wrapper+littered+beside+a+busy+road+in+Boone.
Ashton Woodruff
A candy wrapper littered beside a busy road in Boone.

North Carolina’s Fall Litter Sweep will take place Sept. 16-30, inviting volunteers to join the event to remove local roadside litter in an effort to clean roadways.

Litter Sweep is the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s “biannual statewide roadside litter removal initiative,” according to their website. The event occurs during the last two weeks of April and September and calls residents to volunteer locally to collect roadside litter. 

Jonathan Rand, NCDOT communications officer for Divisions 8 and 11, said in addition to volunteers, NCDOT maintenance crews devote one week of their time twice annually. They aid in picking up litter and collecting bags placed on the sides of roads by volunteer pickups. 

Litter is a “serious and costly problem” in North Carolina, according to the 2022 Litter Report. Across the state, 11,598,315 pounds of litter were collected in 2022, costing the NCDOT a total of $22,355,833.58 in litter management. The money could instead be used to “fix potholes, build bridges, and improve our transportation system,” the website says.

“In the year to date, 7.5 million pounds of litter has been picked up statewide,” Rand said.

The NCDOT additionally works with local coordinators to help manage the litter issue, charging them with the responsibility of “managing anti-litter programs,” including Litter Sweep and Adopt-A-Highway, along with answering questions from volunteers. 

There are 105 local coordinators whose contact information can be found on the NCDOT: Litter Management Coordinators site for those seeking to get involved. The site features each coordinator’s county, name and contact information, as well as the contact information of county maintenance offices for those in need of supplies.

Resident volunteers are provided with cleanup supplies, according to the site, including reversible orange or blue trash bags, gloves and orange safety vests available for pickup at their local NCDOT Maintenance Yard office. 

Rand said safety is the “number one priority at NCDOT” and encourages everyone who “chooses to get involved to do so safely,” wear their vests and “pay attention to your surroundings.” 

 

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About the Contributors
Zoey Sigmon
Zoey Sigmon, Reporter
Zoey Sigmon (she/her) is a junior journalism major from Cherryville, NC. This is her first year with The Appalachian.
Ashton Woodruff
Ashton Woodruff, Photo Editor
Ashton Woodruff (she/her) is a junior IDS Criminal Justice/Photojournalism major, and a Social Work minor. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
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