Caltrans Cleans Up Highways for Statewide Litter Pickup Day

SACRAMENTO -- Caltrans cleaned litter from state highways in eight counties Thursday for Statewide Litter Pickup Day.

The agency says they want to raise public awareness of how much litter along the road there really is, and how pricey cleaning it up can be.

In 2016, Caltrans spent $67.1 million dollars picking up trash across the state. This included litter, tires and dumped mattresses. It's enough litter to fill 9,000 garbage trucks, Caltrans said. Parked back to back, that line of garbage trucks would span 50 miles.

Caltrans said the money could have been used to fix roads and reduce traffic congestion.

Aside from being a burden on tax payers, Caltrans officials say litter like cigarette butts can start fires, discarded plastic can harm wildlife and larger debris clogs roadside drainage systems.