If you travel across our state, you cannot help but notice the presence of litter.

Whether along the roadside, in waterways, parking lots or vacant lots, litter is a concern in our area as well as the state of North Carolina. Resources previously available to help address litter have diminished during the past few years.

The following organizations continue to press forward despite the changes:

KAB — Keep America Beautiful of Nash and Edgecombe promotes cleaner and greener communities through litter prevention, waste reduction and recycling and community beautification.

KAB unites volunteer efforts that identify, develop and coordinate programs to accomplish a sustained and substantial reduction in litter and awareness of other environmental issues. Keep America Beautiful offers free litter education presentations to businesses, civic groups and schools. The KAB coordinator also participates in community events to promote awareness of litter and the value of recycling.

Litter Crew — Shortly after Fountain Correctional Facility closed, the Community Anti-Litter Coalition began holding discussions regarding establishing a litter abatement program that would utilize local nonprofits and community service workers to pick up trash on hundreds of miles of roadways that in the past had been cleaned up by inmates at Fountain Correctional Facility. This idea became a reality in 2017 with the formation of the Litter Crew.

Since 2017 the Litter Crew has picked up 114,225 pounds of litter off our roadways. The Litter Crew picks up trash throughout Rocky Mount, alternating weekly between Nash and Edgecombe counties.

NCDOT — As many of you might know, for many years the state Department of Transportation and the state Department of Corrections had a partnership to utilize inmates to pick up litter throughout the state. This program ended due to changes in NCDOC to provide more work-release opportunities, coupled with inmate safety and security concerns. After the partnership ended, the NCDOT hired contractors to pick up the litter.

However, in 2018, due to a record number of hurricanes over the past two years and funding issues, the state cut out litter removal contractors from the budget. The state is seeing an overabundance of litter on state-maintained roads. We are working closely with our local NCDOT office and they are sending out crews to pick up trash on some of our main roads. However, please remember that these same crews also provide roadway maintenance, so they are not able to clean the roads as much as the inmates or contractors have done in the past.

Thank you in advance for your support of KAB and our area’s litter maintenance efforts. Contact 252-467-4960 with any questions you might have.