TUCSON – Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) recently announced a new website to give Arizonans an easier way to report litter.
According to ADOT, it costs taxpayers $4 million each year to clean up trash along Arizona highways.
“Littering is a huge issue and it’s getting worse,” said Katie Gannon, Tucson Clean and Beautiful Executive Director. “There’s been a lot of attention on the state of the oceans and how much garbage is going into them, but we don’t really talk about the urban environments and the countryside and how much litter is going into them and it’s really a huge problem.”
Gannon says in the 70s littering was a big problem and eventually, people became more aware. She says the problem has gotten bad again and it is time to re-address it.
“It’s just terrible,” said Gannon. “We know that when people litter in one place, it tends to encourage more littering kind of like graffiti. We call that the Broken Window Effect. So it’s really important to keep places clean and show that we care about them and that tends to discourage littering.”
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Through the ADOT hotline, anyone can easily report litter.
“You can report it on your phone, you can call it in, you can text it in, and it’s a really great device,” Gannon said. “It isn’t exactly enforcement. A letter is sent, but it’s something and it does tend to let litterbugs know that somebody notices.”
Drivers can report litter they see tossed from cars and launched from truck beds. Even something as simple as a cigarette butt makes a difference.
Anyone who wants to report a litterbug must note the license plate number and ADOT will send a letter to the vehicle’s registered owner. In the letter, there is a reminder of what litter does to the environment and the economy.
Gannon says it starts with creating less waste.
“Get a reusable bottle and fill it with water from home and take that with you or make your juice at home and bring that with you,” Gannon said. “Start looking at litter like that and get your kids outside. Teach them to love the outdoors and the environment and they’ll take care of it.”
Littering is illegal in Arizona and can result in a $500 fine.
The number is 877-3LITTER (877-354-8837) or report through the website HERE.
The hotline is to report active littering and report the license plate of the vehicle litter is seen being thrown from. To report trash along a freeway, people can call ADOT’s constituent line at 602-712-7355.