The Washington Department of Ecology is celebrating Earth Month by focusing on keeping the state litter-free. Although more than 75% of Washington residents do not litter, an estimated 26 million pounds of material still litter Washington’s roads every year, causing environmental and safety hazards.
The results of Ecology's 2022 statewide litter study show 73,580 pieces of litter or 1,579 pounds of trash per mile per year on interstate highways, and 18,051 pieces of litter or 143 pounds of trash per mile per year on local roads. Common materials include non-biodegradable items such as plastic packaging, food wrappers, cigarette butts, and beverage containers, which can leach harmful chemicals into the environment. Not having a trash bag in the car was identified as a leading cause of littering.
Each year, the Washington State Department of Transportation and Ecology spend over $12 million combined to fund cleanup efforts. Ecology's "Simple as That" campaign encourages residents to hold on to their trash, keep a litter bag in their car, and help others do the same.
To learn more, visit LitterFreeWA.org/simple or PorUnWAImpecable.org/simple.