Friday, April 3, 2015

I Think You Dropped This

By Andrew Wineke, Waste 2 Resources communications

Washington’s beauty is natural. Keeping it that way takes work.

Our state has over 7,000 miles of highway, and certain motorists seem to see that as a 7,000-mile-long trash can.

In 2014, crews with the Ecology Youth Corps picked up almost 900,000 pounds of litter and covered 4,500 miles of highway. Statewide, an estimated 12 million pounds of trash is thrown on our roads each year – paper, food, bicycles, toilets, TVs, couches, needles, shotgun shells … the list goes on and on.

So, who are these white knights wearing orange hard hats?

Each summer since 1975, Ecology hires several hundred teenagers ages 14 to 17 to clean roads and illegal dump sites.

More than 12,000 teens have participated in the corps, gaining valuable job skills, teamwork experience, safety awareness, and learn about environmental topics.Famous alumnus Sir Mix-A-Lot credits the corps with giving him a strong work ethic.

Ecology also hires people 18 and older to clean more challenging roadways such as freeway medians, busy interchanges, and high-traffic areas. These crews are already on the job in much of the state.

How you can help EYC crews
  • Step 1: Don’t litter.
  • Step 2: Don’t litter.
  • Step 3: Don’t litter.
OK, you should also keep a lookout for crews picking up litter on the road and give them a break for safety.

And, after you finish keeping an eye on the road, keep an eye on Ecology’s Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, and Twitter pages. We post the EYC’s greatest hits and hardest work. Just track the hash tags #EYC4life and #IThinkYouDroppedThis.

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