‘Operation Clean Sweep’ aims to tackle litter along Maryland roadways

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration launched “Operation Clean Sweep Maryland” Friday — aiming to increase litter removal along roadways throughout the state.

As part of the effort, the state will double how frequently crews pick up litter and mow along Maryland roads. Maryland will also hire more state employees to help with litter pickup.

Operation Clean Sweep Maryland is beginning in the D.C. and Baltimore areas.

“Maryland’s highways connect us to friends, family, schools, jobs and recreation, and serve as the welcome mat for visitors to our state,” Acting Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said in a news release. “We can’t allow litter to destroy the beauty of our communities and threaten our safety and the environment. We need the help of everyone to tackle this problem, and our state highway crews are prepared to lead the way.”

As a result of a mild winter, crews will be doing sweeps through mostly traveled areas to do litter pickup operations. Also, litter removal cycles will almost double during the mowing season to keep pace with litter problems, according to the news release.

MDOT is increasing its yearly maintenance budget to almost $30 million to help out with the litter removal efforts. The department spent around $39 million in collecting and throwing away over 26,000 truckloads of litter on state roads in the last five years, according to the news release.

“We recognize more needs to be done to keep Maryland’s roads well-maintained and litter-free,” State Highway Administrator Tim Smith said. “We’re increasing our efforts, but we need the public’s help as well. We ask that everyone put trash where it belongs: in a trash can.”

People can call 410-545-0300 to report litter issues and high grass around roads.

Tadiwos Abedje

Tadi Abedje is a freelance digital writer/editor for WTOP. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Northern Virginia. Journalism has been his No. 1 passion since he was a kid and he is blessed to be around people, telling their stories and sharing them with the world.

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