JEFFERSON CITY - Missourians from every corner of the state worked together in April to collect almost 130,000 bags of litter during the 2013 No MOre Trash! Bash.
The Bash is an annual event where volunteers and others clean up litter all across state - from roadsides and parks to rivers and streams. With the final reporting now complete, the Missouri departments of Conservation and Transportation report 129,255 bags collected in April during the Bash.
"On behalf of our state's forests, fish and wildlife, and the millions of Missourians who enjoy them, we offer a great big ‘Thank You!' to the almost 1,000 groups and more than 16,000 volunteers who bashed trash by picking up litter and educating others about the dangers of littering," said Conservation Department No MOre Trash! Coordinator Joe Jerek. "Animals get tangled in litter, such as plastic six-pack holders and discarded fishing line, and it hurts and kills them."
Litter poisons fish, birds and other wildlife, along with their habitats, such as rivers, fields and forests. Trash Bash volunteer efforts are essential to prevent that from happening.
"The No MOre Trash! Bash is a success because everyone involved pitches in," said Stacy Armstrong, MoDOT roadside management specialist. "Conservation groups, Adopt-A-Highway members, Stream Teams, inmates, MoDOT employees and many other volunteers all work together to pick up litter and give Missouri a spring cleaning."
Hundreds of educational efforts were also held in schools, at rest areas, community events, during Earth Day celebrations, and more. While it's great to see the impact these efforts have, it's important to remember why they take place.
"Litter is a big problem because it's unattractive, costly, and harmful to the environment," said Armstrong. "If more people would keep their trash and properly dispose of it, or, better yet, recycle it, we would reduce the amount of litter we need to pick up in the first place."
For MoDOT, litter clean-up is a year-round job, costing the state over $5 million every year. Programs like the Trash Bash and the Adopt-A-Highway program help offset those costs and allow the department to devote resources to other much needed tasks.
The No MOre Trash! Bash is sponsored by the Missouri departments of Conservation and Transportation. For more information about the Bash and other litter prevention activities, visit www.nomoretrash.org or call 888-ASK-MoDOT (888-275-6636).