Highway Trash, Who is Responsible?

In celebration of last week’s Earth Day, I want to showcase the litter on our highways. Over the previous five years, I have been appalled by the amount of trash on the highways in the Kansas City Metro area. I have complained to county commissioners, state highway officials, and city officials, claiming it is not their responsibility.

Some say most of the litter comes from trash trucks on their way to the landfill. Until recently, I believed that could contribute to the problem, but was not the sole reason. However, I happened to follow a large Waste Management truck for a few miles, during which time a large amount of trash flew out of the truck onto the highway. From the looks of our highways, how can this be acceptable?

That experience was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I knew I had to do more to address the problem. So I called the City Managers’ office was told, “we hear about this all the time, and there is nothing we can do. You need to contact Waste Management”. The only problem is Waste Management’s phone number is to a call center that keeps you on hold for a long time, and if you don’t have an account, they don’t know to who you should be connected.

During my wait to speak to a manager, the recording touts, “We don’t think green…we act green”. I want senior management to drive around the area and then tell me they are acting green.

Trash-strewn roads are not just unsightly; the debris collects in drain systems and crate hazards. So, happy earth day, please don’t litter.

One thought on “Highway Trash, Who is Responsible?

  1. I wholeheartedly agree that the abundance of trash is a problem that needs to be solved. Your information regarding trash that comes from waste trucks makes so much sense given the large size of many of these pieces along the highway. Those pieces are too large to have been carelessly tossed out a car window. I don’t trust that there isn’t some sort of “deal” between the major haulers and the county as I think about my interactions with one of the companies that seems determined to control waste disposal in the region. It is also disheartening that many civic groups seem to have withdrawn from highway cleanup activities due to safety concerns and other issues. What can be done?

    Like

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