Volunteers Return to Highway Cleanups in 2021

By Mary Currie / ADOT Communications

Volunteer group leaders and the generous individuals they lead promote a valuable service that supports the preservation of roadside beauty in Arizona. Adopt a Highway volunteers

Last year, volunteers came back in full force to their adopted segments. Friends, family and neighbors gathered to help reduce litter. Adopt a Highway volunteers joined thousands on National CleanUp Day, including a group who came out for the day in Prescott Valley.

Without further ado, I am pleased to report a significant increase in volunteer activity in 2021 over the previous year. More than 7,400 volunteers collected 14,400 bags or 197,000 pounds of trash from along state highways. That's about 89,000 more pounds of trash than was collected the previous year.

A well deserved "thank you" to our long-time volunteers and the many new volunteer friends who contributed to the reduction in roadside litter. The sum of each bag collected and recorded produced a positive result for travelers, wildlife and the environment.

Data collected from group leaders after each event in 2021 revealed the number of bags collected, volunteers participating and hours spent collecting litter. The information provided by volunteers allows ADOT to measure the accomplishments of volunteers. ADOT shares that information with the public and with other states and organizations that manage similar litter reduction operations to  improve trash collection programs.

Due to the reduction in volunteer activity and the department's ability to secure prison labor since 2020, public litter complaints have skyrocketed. The unfortunate act of littering continues as ADOT helped to address a preventable problem. Recently, a major litter removal project was conducted in Tucson and similar projects in other locations along the state highway system.   

Thank you for your continued support or considering ADOT as an opportunity to unite and reduce litter along our highways. Visit Adopt a Highway for a step by step on getting involved.

If you live near Phoenix and would like to help reduce litter in your neighborhood, please visit  My Beautiful Phoenix hosted by Keep Phoenix Beautiful. Tucson residents may contact Tucson Clean and Beautiful to get involved in local volunteer cleanup activities. The Maricopa Association of Governments' Don't Trash Arizona program was implemented in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Transportation to address the environmental, economic, safety and health impacts of freeway litter along regional and state highways.

Arizona, Keep It Grand!


Editor's Note:  The author oversees ADOT Adopt a Highway programs.