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There is no excuse for all the littering

Think tossing a fast-food wrapper or plastic bottle out of your vehicle window, rather than waiting until it can be disposed of properly, is harmless? Well, if you’re not worried about the environmental impact or the creation of an eyesore in heavily travelled areas, maybe the financial cost will grab your attention.

Ohio taxpayers spend approximately $4 million a year to pay the Ohio Department of Transportation to pick up 400,000 or so bags of trash — and the odd mattress or chair — from along Buckeye State roadways.

Imagine being so thoughtless as to contribute to a disgusting, $4 million problem that is entirely preventable.

“This money could be better spent if people would simply keep trash in their vehicle and secure items they are hauling,” ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning told another media outlet. “There is zero excuse for litter ending up along Ohio roadsides.”

In addition to the financial cost, litter cleanup also takes up time that could be better spent. Last year, ODOT employees spent more than 150,000 hours picking up trash.

Certainly, local organizations can help by participating in the Adopt-A-Highway program, or putting together other cleanup efforts. But the heart of the problem is those who have so little regard for their communities that they would rather roll down their windows and hurl trash out of their vehicles than to simply wait and put it in a trash can.

Bruning is right. There is no excuse for that.

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