Picking Up Litter, One Mile at a Time

CLAY COUNTY - Arkansas is blessed with some of the most beautiful highway views in America, but all that splendor can be destroyed by the abundance of roadside trash.

One Fayetteville woman has had enough and is walking from the Missouri border to the Oklahoma border picking up trash along every mile of the journey.

Teresa Pelliccio is a woman on a mission, to show how much trash litters the side of Arkansas roads and how much of this unnecessary trash can be recycled.   "It's just what were supposed to do." Peliccio says, "We're not supposed to pollute, we've got to learn to recycle, we just can't keep filling up our landfills with resources that can be re-used."

Pelliccio began her walk Monday morning in St. Francis, it is about 300 miles to her destination in Siloam Springs located near the Oklahoma border. She plans to walk and clean about 20 miles a day but she won't be doing her work all alone, she has help.      "We have about six people today on the team, so some days we will have more, some days we will have less but either way we will get that twenty miles done".

Her support crew includes friends, people from the Keep Arkansas Beautiful organization, some state park employees and other volunteers.      One of the volunteers on Monday's twenty miles was  66 year old Earl Wruck who actually was spending his birthday on the road. Wruck paused in his pickup duties to explain why he was motivated to help.

"There are several ways you can get this litter abatement taken care of an this is just one phase of it. A lot of it is symbolic as well and encourages people to get out and pick up something, besides that it's good exercise."

One of the benefits of collecting trash along the highway is that at the end of the day, the trash and recyclables can be examined and analyzed and that information along with the daily weights can be added to a database that Arkansas Beautiful is keeping. And what is mainly filling up the trash sacks.    Pelliccio says, "I've picked up mostly cigarette packaging and I would say beer bottles."

Pelliccio told me she's not really an activist but she does have a plan, "Educate, inspire, hey it's just what were supposed to do, we're not supposed to pollute."     And that's a plan she's putting into practice, every foot of every mile.