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Litter Reduction Goal of April Statewide Program

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Peanut the Turtle (Credit: Michele Skalicky)

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/litter-reduction-goal-statewide-program-april_80889.mp3

No More Trash! Bash starts today and runs throughout the month of April.  It’s a campaign by the Missouri Conservation Department and Missouri Department of Transportation to reduce the amount of litter along the state’s roadways.  Stacy Armstrong is the campaign’s coordinator with MODOT.

 "And we encourage everybody during the month of April to get out and help clean up Missouri--give it a good spring cleaning but perhaps more importantly we encourage people--and this is just not during April but year round--to not litter in the first place," she said. 

But getting that message across is easier said than done.  That’s why there are ways the public can get involved in keeping roads and the areas alongside them clean.  One program people can sign up for is MODOT’s Adopt A Highway program.

"People have seen the blue and yellow signs along the side of the road. Primarily, those adoptions are for litter pick up. You work with MODOT to determine and appropriate location, and we ask you to pick it up four times a year and in return you get your name on a sign," she said. 

Groups, families and individuals can adopt a stretch of roadway to keep clean.  It’s estimated that programs like the Adopt-A-Highway program, the Bash and Stream Teams help offset the cost of litter cleanup and allow MODOT and MDC to devote resources to other areas.  Annual volunteer efforts to pick up trash on Missouri highways are valued at $1.5 million.  According to Armstrong, MODOT spends approximately $5 million to $6 million each year picking up litter.

She says you don’t have to sign up for the Adopt-A-Highway or Stream Team programs to take part in the No More Trash! Bash.  You can sign up for a one time clean up at nomoretrash.org, and MODOT will provide you with orange vests, trash bags and trash pickup.

This year’s event honors Peanut the Turtle to emphasize the harm litter can do to wildlife.

"A lot of people have heard about Peanut, but if you haven't heard the story of Peanut, she's a red-eared slider that, when she was a small turtle, she got tangled up in a six-pack ring and couldn't get out of it, and when they found her, they think she was probably five to six-years-old, and her shell grew but the plastic didn't, so she ended up with a peanut-shaped shell," she said.

If you report your cleanup efforts by May 15th, you’ll receive a lapel pin in honor of Peanut the Turtle’s 30thbirthday.  Again, to sign up to take part in No MOre Trash! Bash, nomoretrash.org.  To learn more about the Adopt-A-Highway program, modot.org and to learn about stream teams, mostreamteam.org.

KSMU did a story on Peanut the Turtle when the anti-litter symbol was at the Ozark Empire Fair in 2013.  Find that story here.