There are ways to eliminate roadside trash

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By Claude Lewis

Whether you live in wide open spaces like most of Levy County, or even in the big cities, litter is an unwelcome sight.

For some reason, a lot of people in motor vehicles seem to have a big problem holding onto their trash and disposing of it in its proper place.

Hence, we see all kinds of refuse littering our roadways. Cans and bottles, fast food containers, candy wrappers and cigarette butts are a few of the more common forms of trash making the view unsightly.

With more and more people moving to Levy, there's more and more litter alongside the roads.

The trash can eventually taint the aquifers, swamps, streams, rivers and oceans. Not only can if affect drinking water and recreation use, but wildlife can also suffer.

Instead of just watching it all pile up, Concerned citizens can do something while the trash is still in reach - roadside.

Groups or even individuals can fight litter by hitching up with the State Department of Transportation's Adopt-A-Highway program or the county's Adopt-A-Road campaign.

These programs streamline cleanup energy, giving folks a sense of pride in their community.

According to Karen Webster of the Chiefland DOT office, there are 17 groups participating in the state's Adopt-A-Highway program in the tri-county area.

"We just signed up four of five newcomers," Webster said. "Most of them are in Levy County. We've had as many as 30 and as few as 10. It fluctuates."

It's relatively easy to get hooked up with Adopt-A-Highway. A group, club or organization selects a two-mile stretch of a state road they desire to keep clean. They then fill out a contract, promising to do clean-ups at least four times a year.

"They can do more," Webster pointed out. "Clean ups are normally done on Saturdays."

The state DOT provides safety vests, traffic control signs, gloves, pick-up sticks and grabbers and trash bags. Some groups leave the bagged litter at roadside for the state to pick up. Other groups opt to dispose of the trash themselves.

With the price of recycled aluminum these days, one couldn't blame a group or club for hanging onto the cans they find roadside.

Before a group can go out and collect trash, members must first attend a safety meeting and view a video.

Once roadside, workers are busy as bees. Exercise is good.

"They should bring water, sunscreen and bug repellant," Webster warned. "The Dixie County Teen Court cleans up a highway as part of community service."

The stretch of highway that a group or club cleans up will be marked by a roadside sign.

It's positive publicity for that group or club.

Levy County's Adopt-A-Road program closely mirrors that of the DOT's Adopt-A-Highway.

Alice Lalonde of county roads said that there's five groups/individuals signed up to clean up county roads. They can always use more.

"Anyone interested should come by the road department (U.S. 27 north of Bronson, or 620 North Hathaway) and pick up a packet," she said. "They fill out the paperwork an once they"re approved, we'll give them gloves, vests and other safety materials. They get a sign up on their stretch of road."