Excess trash along roadways could fuel a wildfire - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Excess trash along roadways could fuel a wildfire

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

We all know we are in an extreme drought and the dry grass can quickly fuel a fire. As summer temperatures will only get hotter, another threat to cause fire is being blown in by the wind, trash

"We can't do anything about wind in our part of Texas, but we can do something about how the trash gets outside," said Keep Lubbock Beautiful Liaison, Marla Potess.

If you have driven on Marsha Sharp Freeway lately, you've probably noticed the plastic bags, cups and paper scattered along the side of the road.

"We encourage citizens to use the reusable bags that they get at the grocery store and gradually stop using the plastic bags, because a lot of windblown trash is plastic bags," said Potess.

Keep Lubbock Beautiful is trying to do just that. They are encouraging Lubbock citizens to stop littering and put their trash where it belongs. After all, it is against the law to litter and it comes with a hefty fine totaling up to $500. City officials have seen all sorts of trash.

"Couches, furniture, tree branches and appliances," said City Code Administration Manager, Stuart Walker.  

Each year, the Texas Department of Transportation spends $324,000 of taxpayers' dollars to keep our highways clean. They do have help from the county inmates on the loop and the adopt a highway program saves money too. However, there is only so much they can do to clean up and lately it's becoming a fire hazard.

"If we continue to clean up everyone else's mess, people won't clean up themselves. Overtime we would like the community to see the 2nd Saturday of the month as the day to go out and clean up my yard and my alley," said Potess.

The city Codes Department helps to do the same for neighborhoods, checking for fire dangers. If violators dump bulky items, the person whose property it is on will be responsible for the removal or pay the price.

"We really want people to utilize our recycling centers. That's why the solid waste people created those so they don't have to drive that long distance to the city landfill," said Walker.

Officials say lingering trash is a problem 365 days a year, but ultimately it's up to the citizens to be responsible and put their trash where it belongs.

The City of Lubbock has started a campaign to do just that. It's called Stash the Trash that Keep Lubbock Beautiful started.  Annually, children from Kindergarten to 12th grade draw pictures about what the program means to them. The organization then compiles all the pictures into a calendar to give out to the public, encouraging others to not litter.

Keep Lubbock Beautiful still needs sponsors for the calendar. For more information contact Marla Potess at (806)-775-2880.

To report illegal dumping in the city, call the Dumping Hotline at (806)-775-3197.

©2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. 

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