MDOT says litter on roads costs MS taxpayers millions - - The News for South Mississippi

MDOT says litter on roads costs MS taxpayers millions


By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - When someone throws a soda bottle out of a car window, the state says they become part of a litter problem that each year costs Mississippi taxpayers millions of dollars. On Thursday, MDOT crews cleaned up three highways in Harrison County as part of the annual Trash Bash. 

It was a dirty job the crews wished wasn't necessary. MDOT workers crews say there are at least three million reasons to keep trash in your car.

"MDOT spends $3 million a year picking up litter. It's $3 million that could go elsewhere in maintaining our roads," said Ashlyn Hamilton, Litter Control Coordinator. "It also doubles our time in mowing. We have to spend the effort and the time to pick up; then we have to go back and mow. That's manpower that could be used somewhere else."

Crews put what drivers discarded along Highways 15, 67 and 605 into the brightly colored trash bags. Garbage is not the image MDOT workers want visitors to see when they're in the Magnolia state.

"It's a horrible perception when you have a visitor coming in from out of state, and the first thing you see is litter. It kind of invites more litter also," Hamilton said.

"When they see litter out on the highways they think, 'If it's already there, they don't care. So why should I care?'"

MDOT says Mississippi could be losing out on revenue, as potential investors are put off by the trash.

"It's bad for economic development," said Hamilton. "No business wants to come in where a trashy area is. Nobody wants to move to where a trashy area is. It's just bad all the way around."

MDOT hopes drivers will pass by the yellow trash bags and get the message to put trash where it belongs.

Hamilton would like to see people "make the right choice and not litter. There's a place for litter, and it's in the garbage can. It's better for all of us. All citizens of Harrison County, Hancock County, Jackson County and everywhere in Mississippi actually just to make the choice not to litter."

Officials say 150 workers picked up more than 750 bags of garage.

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