Iowa's roadways suffer bug plague

By Carol / March 29, 2010 /

Iowa’s roadways suffered a bug plague of unprecedented proportions over this past winter, according to an official of the Clean Iowa Ditches Coalition.

“Litterbugs were out in force over the winter,” confirmed Illa Pickup, spokesperson for the coalition. “It’s unbelievable what we’re seeing now that the snow has melted. These vile pests took advantage of every snowfall to scatter more waste.”

Ms. Pickup had just returned from another walk and was sputtering mad as she hauled bags of bottles, cans, and other waste up her driveway.

“Apparently the economy is not too bad since litterbugs are willing to throw money out the window,” Pickup said with thinly veiled sarcasm as she shorted bottles and cans that could be returned for deposit from items that could be recycled.  Pickup reports that she paid for groceries for a month last year from the bottles and cans she retrieved along a single three-mile stretch of road.  As she flexed her back, Pickup admitted that this year the money may have to go to a chiropractor. “Lugging bags of glass bottles for three miles puts a kink in my shoulders.”

Pickup says earning money as she takes a morning walk makes it marginally easier to tolerate the litterbug droppings.  More satisfying is the good feeling she gets from doing something for the environment.

“The roadways look better after they’ve been cleaned up,” Pickup said with a satisfied smile. But then she frowned. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t last.  Litterbugs are relentless in the damage they do. I can fill a bag with bottles and cans every week. From the same stretch of road.” Then she smiled again. “More free groceries!”

The Clean Iowa Ditches Coalition is an informal group made up of an undetermined number of Iowans. “I have no idea how many of us there are,” admitted Pickup, who acknowledged when pressed that the group had never met. “I just know I’m grateful for every person who picks up any bit of litter and disposes of it properly.  It’s such an easy thing to do. I really wish litterbugs didn’t throw out their trash in the first place but since they do, I urge everyone to help stamp out litterbugs by calling the No Litter hotline – 1-888-NOLITTR.”


NO JOKE:  Keep Iowa Beautiful (KIB) works diligently to assist communities and organizations in cleanup and beautification projects. KIB and the Iowa DNR estimate that litter on the landscape costs Iowans nearly $30 million per year to clean up. KIB sponsors a hotline for anyone to report litterbugs. If you see someone littering, call 1-888-NOLITTR (665-4887). The litterbug will receive a letter from Keep Iowa Beautiful reminding them not to litter along with a trash bag to keep in their car.

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