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High Cost Of Trash

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Sacramento, CA – Have you ever seen someone toss out a bag, cup or cigarette while driving down the highway?  Caltrans says that affects your wallet.

“It costs taxpayers over $50 million annually to remove litter on state highways,” says Angela DaPrato a Caltrans Spokesperson.

On Thursday, Caltrans will be holding its annual statewide Litter Removal and Enforcement Day.  Crews will be picking up trash along roadways in eight counties including Tuolumne and Calaveras.

Here is Caltrans list of highways in Tuolumne County where cleanup will take place:

  • State Route 108 at Soulsbyville Road (PM 7.0)
  • In the medians on State Route 108 from (PM 6.5) just past Draper Mine Road to
  • (PM 9.5) about Plainview Road/West Twain Harte
  • State Route 120 from (PM 3.0) just before Kistler Ranch Undercrossing to (PM 8.5)
  • just past La Grange Road
  • State Route 120 at (PM 8.5) Green Springs Road
  • State Route 120 from (PM 19.0) just before the Tuolumne River Bridge to (PM 23.0)
  • just past Stent Road

TOTAL: Approximately 20.5 miles

Here is Caltrans list of highways in Calaveras County:

  • State Route 4 from (PM 22.0) Gold Strike Road to (PM 29.0) about Center Street.
  • State Route 4 at Red Hill Road (PM 25.1)

TOTAL: Approximately 8 miles

However, the costs are not only monetary; Caltrans say the litter also poses other risks. DaPrato says, “It’s an environmental hazard for not only humans, but our wildlife especially in rural areas in Tuolumne County.  Last year, the District collected nearly 2,045 bags of litter and debris.  That’s about 292 cubic yards.  That’s a lot of litter.”

Caltrans lists these litter threats to the environment and human health:

  • Wildlife suffers from plastics in the ecosystem
  • Roadside vegetation is damaged by large debris
  • Fires are started from burning cigarettes
  • Harmful chemicals and biohazards cause a serious threat to human health
  • Litter clogs roadway drainage systems and leads to highway flooding congestion and accidents and aids in the spread of disease

Caltrans has also started a new “Butts Only Boxes” campaign.  The boxes are being installed at rest stops along state highways so motorists can safely discard their used cigarettes.