Litterbugs Rampant in Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/10/03

Litterbugs Rampant in Lubbock

"Oh we get calls all the time," said Penny Mason. When the phone rings in her office, odds are, someone's calling about trash. She's the Public Information Officer with the Texas Department of Transportation, and in charge of keeping the city's state highways litter-free.

Last year the state of Texas spent $37 million picking up after litterbugs, a million of that right here in Lubbock. Authorities say no matter how much money you throw at the problem, things won't improve until people start to care.

"It's a matter of changing behavior," said Mason. "Until we can change behavior then we're always going to have a litter problem," she said.

In 2002, Lubbock streets were buried under 137 tons of litter. For Kendrick McBride, trying to pick it all up is an endless job. He manages a trash recovery crew that works five days a week. "We work from about 8:30 to 2:30 in the evening. We just pick up trash and just do the best we can," he said.

Kendrick and his men are clearly outnumbered. Fighting a war of indifference. Plastic bags, beer bottles, fast food wrappers so commonplace, litter in Lubbock is second nature.

"Unfortunately I do get used to seeing it, it's like normal vegetation," said resident Clinton Hobdy. It's a depressingly accurate description. A landscape where West Texas tumbleweeds roll under the conquering flag of litter.

"We're going to get calls that say, 'Its really bad out here,' Well we know its really bad out there, and we'll get it picked up as soon as we can," said Mason.

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