JEFFERSON CITY - Many Missourians are breathing a sigh of relief that the winter season is drawing to an end, but as the snow melts away a real eyesore is appearing - the litter that was hiding under all the picturesque snow. That's why it's a good thing April is the annual No MOre Trash! Bash so we can all get outside and clean up Missouri!
"This is our big spring kick off each year to get our state looking better," said Stacy Armstrong, Missouri Department of Transportation No MOre Trash! coordinator. "Through efforts like this we can reduce litter and increase awareness."
The Bash is an annual event sponsored by the Missouri departments of Conservation and Transportation. During the entire month of April, efforts are aimed at getting people to clean up litter all across Missouri from roadsides, to parks, to rivers and streams.
"Littering isn't just ugly, it hurts wildlife, it costs Missourians millions of tax dollars each year, and it's illegal," said MDC No MOre Trash! Coordinator Joe Jerek. "Birds, fish, turtles and other animals get tangled in litter, such as plastic six-pack holders and fishing line, and it can kill them. Litter poisons fish, birds and other wildlife and can cost a litterer up to $1,000 in fines and one year in jail."
MoDOT spends more than $5 million each year cleaning litter from Missouri's roadsides, while Conservation spends almost $1 million a year to clean litter from conservation areas and other department locations.
Last year more than 128,000 bags of trash and many more truckloads of debris were collected by more than 12,000 volunteers during April. Volunteers included MoDOT and MDC employees, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers, Stream Team members, as well as many members of the public.
Each year the activities grow. Many educational efforts take place in schools, at rest areas, at community events, during Earth Day celebrations, on radio talk shows, news conferences, television promotions and more. Can we do more this year? Make your plans now!
Anyone can report their activity at nomoretrash.org and get a free lapel pin for their efforts.
"Besides the recognition, we all get a little exercise, some fresh air, and a cleaner place to work, live and play," Armstrong said.
Working together, means a cleaner Missouri. For more information, visit nomoretrash.org.
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