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Nothing free about litter

The next time you toss trash out the car window, you could be throwing away $100 and as much as 12 hours of time.
That’s how high the fine and long the community service can be if law enforcement officers find you breaking the state’s anti-littering law. Beware. They’re on high litter alert this week.
The State Highway Patrol is mounting a heavy enforcement program for the state’s “Litter Free NC” campaign. The goal is to teach people about the true cost of throwing a beer can or hamburger wrapper out the window.
The state spent more than $16 million of our tax money in 2012 to pick up and haul off 325,000 bags of litter from roadsides and highways. Nationwide, almost $11.5 billion is spent on litter cleanup each year.
There are less obvious costs, too. Litter begets litter; once someone sees a trash-strewn roadside, they’re more likely to add to it. And that stuff doesn’t always stay on the roadside. According to Keep America Beautiful, 80 percent of the nation’s waterways are littered with trash that was dropped on land.
In addition to litter tossed out the window, the Highway Patrol will be looking for drivers who fail to secure their loads and allow trash to scatter. That, too, is punishable by fine and/or community service.
Help keep North Carolina beautiful and save our money for better uses. Spread the word: Don’t litter.

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