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ODOT and Record Number of Volunteers partner to pick up litter “Clear Across Ohio” 

COLUMBUS (March 27, 2009) ­– Hoping to prevent a nearly $4 million problem tarnishing our state highway system, the Ohio Department of Transportation  (ODOT) will kick off its annual spring litter cleanup tomorrow with a record number of volunteers trying to prevent litter Clear Across Ohio.

Governor Ted Strickland proclaimed April as “Keep Ohio Beautiful Month.”  Keep Wickliffe Beautiful, Keep Mentor Beautiful, the Lake County Solid Waste Management District and the Ohio State University Extension, Lake County are each reminding local communities that ‘green’ starts with Lake County!

“ODOT crews work very hard maintaining our highways for all motorists,” said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris. “But litter isn’t normal road repair. It’s a problem that keeps coming back, and something has to be done to stop it.”

Statewide, ODOT crews collected nearly seven million pounds of trash in 2008 at a cost of $3.6 million in labor and equipment expenses. That’s more than 350,000 bags of litter and debris taken off roads and grassy medians on our state highway system. 

“By becoming environmental stewards, we can prevent litter Clear Across Ohio,” said Director Molitoris. “That $3.6 million spent on litter removal could have been better spent. For example, 10 buses could have been purchased.”

The Great American Cleanup is the nation’s largest annual community improvement program. 2.5 million people volunteering, more than 8 million hours to clean, beautify and improve 15,000 communities in all 50 states.  In the Wickliffe and Mentor communities alone, over 10,000 individuals participated in Great American Cleanup events.

This year, the Great American Cleanup and State Roadway Cleanup, co-sponsored by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), will take place Saturday, March 28.  To volunteer to help with future cleanup events, call Patricia Fowler, Keep Wickliffe Beautiful, at (440) 943-7100; Bonnie Rice, Keep Mentor Beautiful, at (440) 974-5780 or Jessica Mitchell, Ohio State University Extension, Lake County at (440) 350-2582. 

Ohio also has more than 1,400 groups- at least one in each county-who have joined ODOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program. Each group volunteers to clean up a two-mile section or interchange along the state highway system, picking up litter and debris a minimum of four times a year for two years.

If you are interesting in helping to prevent litter, Clear Across Ohio, go to www.dot.state.oh.us and look for the Adopt-A-Highway icon.

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For more information, contact Nancy Burton, ODOT Communications, at (614) 728-8915 of your local communications office.