Planned litter pickups on Earth Day delayed by spring snow, ODOT says
ODOT crews will transition back to snow and ice operations.
TOLEDO, Ohio — What was expected to be a litter pickup day on Thursday in honor of Earth Day, has instead become a transition back to snow and ice operations for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
ODOT employees in northwest Ohio and Adopt-A-Highway groups were invited to work alongside ODOT maintenance crews to pick up litter on Earth Day on Thursday, April 22.
Tuesday night’s snowfall changed those plans.
Since the start of the pandemic, litter along Ohio’s highways has increased, despite fewer vehicles on the roadways. The demand for takeout food has resulted in a large number of food containers ending up along the roadside. Personnel shortages among trash collection entities have also contributed.
So far, ODOT crews in northwest Ohio have collected approximately 21,000 bags of litter along highways.
Chris O’Flaherty, transportation administrator for the ODOT Hardin County maintenance garage, said his crews have picked up over 1,800 bags of litter since mid March. In Lucas County, crews have taken on twice the work with litter removal.
Lucas crews see the most litter at entrance ramps, where motorists choose to throw out their trash as they enter the highway, and from trash hauling trucks that don’t secure their load, leading to the trash seen plastered against highway fencing. “It’s just frustrating — the next day it’s like we weren’t even there. It’s 100% preventable,” said Boyle.