New Signs On The Highways Around Arkansas Aim To Curb Litter Problems

December 14, 2004 -- Posted at 7:30 p.m. CST

JONESBORO -- Driving down the highways and byways around Arkansas you'll begin to notice a new sign on the side of the road.

Joe Barnett works for the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.

"The Arkansas Highway Department is unveiling a plan where traveling motorists in the state of Arkansas that observe littering will have a telephone number to call to report that littering,"said Barnett.

The goal is to clean up an old problem.

"Reduce the amount of litter on the state's highways. That will save money and make the state more aesthetically pleasing,"said Barnett.

If you see someone littering the roads, get the description of the vehicle, the license plate number, and call the 24-hour toll free number on the sign.

"It will result in a letter being sent to the owner of that vehicle making them aware that they were observed littering, and asking them to comply with the state's laws on littering,"said Barnett.

Based on one observation, there is no penalty other than the letter itself, but if multiple reports are made for the same person, harsher punishments could follow.

"In the state of Arkansas, the highway department picks up over 60,000 cubic yards of litter a year. This cost over 3.8 million dollars a year. It's a significant problem in Arkansas, and it is money that could be used for more productive things,"said Barnett.

Joe Barnett stresses that some of the biggest producers of litter are people who don't cover their truck beds.

Another tip-- keep a trash bag in your car, and teach your children to respect the environment.

This could keep you from getting more unwanted letters in the mail.