Don't trash Oklahoma

Tuesday, May 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Remember those anti-litter campaigns? "Don't lay that trash on Oklahoma" or "Keep our land grand." Just in time for Spring-cleaning, KOTV has been looking into how well Oklahomans are listening.

KOTV’s Tami Marler says some of us are listening carefully to the state's pleas to keep our land grand. Unfortunately, the message isn't reaching everyone. Are you missing a shopping cart, the tire from your bicycle, or your living room sofa? Local resident, Clarence Merckling may be able to help you find it, and more. "I saw a hot water tank and a washing machine somebody had just dropped off in the bar ditch." Merckling says city and county offers to provide free trash pickup and hauling don't seem to be making a dent in illegal dumping. State officials agree, there are more than 2,400 illegal dumps in Oklahoma. "They're just dumping it all over. They'll go out to the side of the road out here instead of hauling it out to the dump; and of course it costs them to go to the dump." Another frustrated resident, Bob Stinnett says, "A lot of them just, wanna keep from paying to dump it so they just find places like this, around behind and the side roads, and dump it off where they don't have to pay for getting rid of it, which I think is a very poor way of doing it." Especially when state-of-the-art landfills like the Quarry provide a safe, environmentally friendly place to take non-hazardous trash. All you have to do is pull up onto the scales, pay about $15, then drive into the landfill and unload. That $15 fee is a lot better than the $200 to $2,000 you could pay if you got caught.

And that's not the only way some people are trashing Oklahoma. The Department of Transportation says highway littering alone costs an estimated $4-million a year to clean up, you could repave about 100 miles of highway with that kind of money. "It's not good. I don't think anybody likes to look at it. I certainly don't." If you see littering on roadways, call 1-888-5LITTER. That will hook you up with the Department of Transportation. You'll need to provide, the license number of the car the trash came from. The make and model of that car. The time and place of the incident. And the type of litter.

If you see illegal dumping in other areas, you can call the Department of Environmental Quality at 800-522-0206.