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Tons Of Trash Costing Millions To Pick Up

Sonora, CA – Mother Lode motorists are dumping more garbage on the areas highways and cleaning it up comes with a hefty price tag.

Caltrans held its annual Litter Removal and Enforcement Day along California highways during the Earth Day celebration and the results are nothing to cheer about for the state or Mother Lode.

During last year’s cleanup event, 1,552 bags of trash were filled in the eight county regional District 10 that includes Tuolumne, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus Alpine and Amador counties.

This year in Tuolumne County crews picked up 159 bags of litter along these areas:

  • Highway 120 (SR-120) from the Stanislaus/Tuolumne County line to 7 miles west of Jamestown
  • Highway 108 in the vicinity of Long Barn.

District 10 spokesperson Skip Allum indicates, “Overall we picked up a little more trash than we did last year…In 2016, just in our district alone, Caltrans spent $1.1 million on liter removal, picking up enough trash and debris to fill about 540 garbage trucks. Our reports are we got even more this year, but we don’t have a total yet.”

In Calaveras County west of Copperopolis 62 bags totaling 8.9 cubic yards where retrieved from the shoulder of Highway 4 along with a surprise. “Crews were picking up boxes when they uncovered two rattle snakes that were taking shelter,” states Allum.  “It was a bit alarming to them but there was no incident. They just moved away and so did the snakes.”

Last year, Caltrans spent $67 million to remove 166,500 cubic yards of garbage statewide. That equals enough litter to fill almost 9,000 garbage trucks, parked end-to-end would stretch more than 50 miles. Caltrans encourages motorists to pitch-in and offers these tips to keep the state’s highways clean:

  • Never discard cigarette or cigar refuse improperly;
  • Always cover and properly secure trucks and pick up loads.