‘Operation Clean Sweep’ is a go in Md., collecting tons in highway trash and debris

Since Maryland kicked off its “Operation Clean Sweep,” the state’s Department of Transportation State Highway Administration collected more than 120 tons of trash.

Charlie Gischlar, with the state highway administration, said the litter and debris collected in the past two weeks along roadsides had included sofas, tires, a variety of trash and small furniture.

The trash is not only unsightly, Gischlar said, but it’s an environmental hazard and a safety issue.

Mowers will soon be out to cut the grass and vegetation along roadsides and pathways.

Debris struck by the mowing equipment cannot only damage equipment, but it can become a projectile, Gischlar said, and “it can be shot out into the roadway and injure a roadway user, a driver, a pedestrian” or a cyclist.

There are things drivers can do when they spot trash on the roads or highways.

Gischlar advises drivers to make a mental note of where they spotted the litter and then log onto the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration website, scroll down and select “contact us.”

That will direct users to a service request form. “When you put in the location, it’ll go to the closest maintenance shop that’s responsible for that area, and then as part of normal maintenance activities, crews will go out and remove it,” he said.

Typically, crews collect 5,300 truckloads of trash and debris from Maryland roadways each year, at an estimated cost of $7 million.

Of course, another way motorists can help, Gischlar said, is to, “Put litter in its place”— in the trash.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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