Mecklenburg County battles record-breaking litter on the roads

CHARLOTTE — The amount of trash on the side of the road continues to rise in Mecklenburg County.

Last year over 13 million pounds of trash was collected statewide.

Over a million pounds of trash was collected in Mecklenburg County alone, which is a 20 percent spike compared to two years prior.

Traffic Team 9′s Mark Taylor talked to North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Communication Officer Jen Thompson to find out why the problem is getting worse and what’s being done about it.

“It seems like as soon as you pick it up and go back it’s right there again. It seems like it never even disappeared.” said Thompson.

Our Mark Taylor reported on the rapid rise in trash in April 2021, which was partially blamed on NCDOT budget cuts and COVID-19 safety measures, neither of which are now issues, but the trash is still there.

“We don’t want to break that record this year. I think we’re already up to somewhere between half a million and a million pounds already for 2022,” said Thompson.

NCDOT has initiatives to fight the trash problem with programs like Adopt a Highway and a statewide roadside litter removal initiative that takes place twice a year, but it isn’t a permanent solution.

“I get up in the morning to go for a run and there is just more trash and all kinds of random things. It’s pretty gross,” one person told Taylor.

NCDOT suggests keeping your trash load secured, not throwing trash on the side of the road, and making sure you recycle.

The NC Litter Sweet takes place April 16-30, which allows local residents to participate in efforts to clean up our roadways.

To report someone who you think has been littering, click here.

(WATCH BELOW: NCDOT prepares for Fall Litter Sweep in its efforts to clean roads)

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