The Month of April Means "Don't mess with Texas"
Monday, April 4, 2022
The month of April has special meaning for Texans. It's when many groups - like Adopt-a-Highway and Keep Texas Beautiful affiliates - participate in the statewide "Don't mess with Texas Trash-Off."
This year, to work around inclement weather, cleanup events are being held all month instead of just one day.
In last year's Trash-Off, volunteers collected more than one million pounds of litter across the state. Becky Ozuna, the campaign coordinator, said even if you can't physically participate, you can be helpful.
"If they are driving and they do see a group out collecting trash on the side of the road," said Ozuna, "to please slow down and just be aware that there may be more of their neighbors and friends and family on the side of the road, picking up trash."
She added these annual trash pickups save taxpayer dollars. The Texas Department of Transportation spent over $50 million on litter pickup in the last year - money that could be used elsewhere to enhance the state.
When waste isn't properly disposed of, Ozuna pointed out, it ends up in water systems, is ingested by wildlife, and reduces both water and air quality. It can also facilitate the spread of disease, by providing places for pests to live and breed.
She said being part of a cleanup crew has a side benefit for the volunteers.
"If you've actually been out there yourself and you have experienced trash pickup firsthand, you're way more less likely to litter," said Ozuna. "So, we do encourage everybody to get their kids involved at an early age."
And if you're caught littering in Texas, you can be fined up to $2,000.
The most common types of litter found are cigarette butts, face masks and other personal protective gear and fast-food wrappers, tossed along roads by motorists and pedestrians.
Beyond the April events, Keep Texas Beautiful affiliates hold trash pickups year-round to keep their communities clean. Lenora Tollefson, director of operations with Keep Pearland Beautiful, said anyone can do their part.
"You know, if you see it, try your best to pick it up and throw it in the trash," said Tollefson. "Take a trash bag with you, leave one in your vehicle, so that you can put it in there."
The campaign has been around since 1986 as a call to action to remind Texans not to litter.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
The Alabama House and Senate both passed bills this week that would help people resume in vitro fertilization and provide legal protections for provid…
A new report finds some Missouri laws and prospective laws are perceived as discriminatory regardless of their actual intent - and it outlines some bi…
By Frank Jossi for Energy News Network.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the Joyce Foundation-Public News Ser…
By Claire Carlson, John Upton and Kaitlyn Trudeau for The Daily Yonder.Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Oregon News Service for the Public …
A new Network for Public Education report grades Florida an "F" for its public school funding. As Florida lawmakers negotiate the state budget in …
As members of Congress and presidential candidates battle it out over immigration, a group of Nevada leaders and experts dedicated to advancing …
A bill in Olympia would open access to unemployment while workers are on strike, but time is running out for lawmakers to pass the legislation…
With Pennsylvania's primary election less than 60 days away, a nonpartisan group is stepping up the pace to educate people on voting by mail and by …