Don't Trash Arizona!

Don't Trash Arizona!

June 28, 2011

Don't Trash Arizona! aims to educate and increase public awareness of the impacts of roadside litter.

Last month we told you about the thousands who take on the immense task of cleaning up Arizona ’s roads through ADOT’s Adopt a Highway program – more than 800 tons of trash is picked up off the state highways each year because of these volunteers!

But, picking up trash is just part of the equation when it comes to the very big job of keeping the roads clean. Education is the key to changing littering behaviors and teaching people how roadside trash really affects our state.

That’s where Don’t Trash Arizona! comes in. A joint effort between the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and ADOT, Don’t Trash Arizona! was launched in July 2006 utilizing funding from Proposition 400. The program’s aim is to increase public awareness of the economic, health, safety and environmental impacts of roadside litter.

If you’re not convinced throwing trash on the side of the road is a big deal, check out these facts from the Don’t Trash Arizona! website:

  • Roadside litter costs the Phoenix region about $3 million and nearly 150,000 labor hours each year to pick up trash along Valley freeways.
  • Besides ruining our beautiful desert vistas, litter leads to traffic accidents and freeway delays. Each year, approximately 25,000 accidents are caused from dangerous debris on roadways.
  • Littering is not only unsightly, it can cause environmental and health problems. Cigarette butts, for example, contain toxic chemicals that can end up in storm drains and contaminate our water systems.

The good news is that recent research has found the efforts of Don’t Trash Arizona! are paying off. A 2010 survey found that 74 percent of Maricopa County residents reported they had not littered at all during the past year, which, for the first time, represented an increase from previous years (only 69 percent had reported not littering in 2009).

We urge you to check out the Don’t Trash Arizona! website. There, you’ll find some great information, fun giveaways and, most importantly, ideas on what you can do to help!