2021 on pace to break all-time records for amount of litter collected in North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It wasn't just the Litter Sweep and Adopt-a-Highway programs that fell victim to the pandemic; even paid litter pick-up services were scaled back by NCDOT.

So it may be no surprise that just four months into 2021 the numbers show we could set a record for litter collection this year.

"The department and our crews, contractors, and volunteers have certainly picked up more than in both 2020 and in 2019," Kay said adding that the Department of Transportation's biggest year for litter collection recently was 2019 when crews picked up more than 10.5 million pounds of litter.

In 2020 during COVID with collection limited, contractors and volunteers still picked up over 6.3 million pounds of litter.

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But so far in 2021, those crews have picked up 4.9 million pounds of litter.

That figure could increase by the end of the month, putting the state on-track to far exceed the 2019 number.

So volunteers like Ashly Johnson from Strata Clean Energy hope others will join the effort.

"I think it's every citizens' job to do their part in cleaning up. And so we just want to do our part for this community," she said.

But NCDOT officials want to remind everyone that this effort wouldn't be needed if people stopped littering in the first place and did a better job of securing their load of garbage on trucks.

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