ST. PAUL, Minn. - We're stuck in that middle zone right now. The pretty blankets of white snow are long gone, but the spring buds and flowers aren't quite here yet. It's the not so nice-looking part of spring.
Looking up, the bright sunny skies and the actively chirping birds make it feel like spring. But looking down is another story. Trash lines our streets, a build up of a long winter season of littering.
So, who picks it up? Well, you could.
"Across the state, there are about 40,000 Adopt-a-Highway volunteers but we always need more," said MnDOT's Jessica Weins. "On average, they fill about 20 large garbage bags along [a] stretch of road and that weighs about 400 pounds, so these groups, just on small sections of roads, are picking up immense amounts of trash."
The program saves MnDOT $5 million annually and cleans up 8,400 miles of highway across the state every year.
"Each group has about a two-mile stretch of road that they are responsible for and they pick up the trash on both sides of that highway," said Weins.
For safety, interstates are handled by MnDOT crews, but fixing potholes and guard rails are a bit higher on the priority list.
If volunteers didn't pick the trash up, some of the litter would spend years on our roadside.
Cigarettes take about one to five years to decompose if left on the side of the road. Plastic bags can last up to 30 years and an aluminum can last as many as 500 years.
If you'd like to become an "Adopt a Highway" volunteer, visit the program's website.
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