Pandemic increases trash troubles, prompts crackdown in Pa.

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Much of the trash is pandemic-related, with masks, gloves, and take-out containers being tossed alongside roads

PULASKI, Pa. (WKBN) – Trash trouble seems to be a problem on local roads. We already reported on the situation along ODOT roads. Thursday, PennDOT shared how its noticed an increase in trash, and also outlined a way for you to help.

It says much of the trash is pandemic-related, with masks, gloves, and take-out containers being tossed alongside roads.

PennDOT encourages people to sign-up and adopt a 2-mile section of road or an interchange. Fifty-four groups in Mercer County have Adopted a Highway, covering 141 miles of road.

“PennDOT doesn’t have the resources to send their crews out to pick up litter. We depend on volunteers. Right now, litter has become an epidemic. Last year, because of COVID, we weren’t allowing groups to pick up, so we only had one pickup last year,” said PennDOT Roadside Specialist Cheryl Wimer.

Pennsylvania has litter enforcement corridors, too. It doubles the penalties for littering in one of these protected areas, including a community service requirement for first-time offenders.

Fines for littering are stiff. Trooper Herbert Rieger said multiple offenses could add up.

“If you’re caught littering in PA, you can face a fine of $300. Also, you can be ordered to participate in a community litter pickup for 5-30 hours. If you’re caught a second time, you could face up to 30-100 hours,” he said.

The Sharon-Hermitage-Farrell area is one with a lot of need for volunteer groups to pick up trash, according to PennDOT. Greenville is one of the more adopted areas.

You can find more information about Adopting a Highway, on the PennDOT website

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