ST. LOUIS – The Missouri Department of Transportation received phone calls about an increasing amount of trash along area highways.

“Missouri Department of Transportation traditionally spend about $6 million a year on about 385,000 acres of roadside just picking up litter,” said Tom Blair, MoDOT District Engineer in the St. Louis region. “In St. Louis, we spend about 22,000 of our hours of our people picking up trash last year. We’re on pace to do that again this year in the St. Louis region.”

MoDOT said they hire contractors to assist in the trash pickup. They also said trash gets collected and pick up four to six times a year across every interstate.

MoDOT said they have volunteer groups like Adopt-A-Highway that will help with trash pick up four times a year.

“New this year, we entered into a first-ever litter removal on multiple interstates in the St. Louis region,” said Blair. “About 65 miles of our interstates where we have a litter-only contract, we’re paying a contractor to pick up the trash once a month.”

MoDOT said they pick up half a ton of trash per mile and per month. They said some of the litter was attributed to uncontrolled loads like a mattress, ladder, or cans falling off vehicles as well as unsecured trash trucks. Littering is against the law in Missouri.

“It’s really up to all of us in society,” said Blair. “We all need to control the loads we put in our vehicles to make sure they don’t blow out. We need to not throw stuff out. MoDOT will continue spending our taxpayer money and resources picking up the roadsides.”