Volunteers work hard to make Texas a cleaner place

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Not all kids slept in on a Saturday morning. Central student council members got up at sunrise with one thing in mind. "Making our highways and roads pretty to look at and keep Texas beautiful," said Brooke Johnson, a volunteer. Their school is on Highway 69, so the roadway is their concern during the Don't Mess With Texas Trash Off.  Hundreds of volunteers across Texas want other roadways kept clean.

Adopt a Highway is a great program, but what would it take to make it totally unnecessary? "If people wouldn't litter and would keep trash in the car and keep trash out of back of trucks so it doesn't fly away, wouldn't have this problem," explained Allison Beck, coordinator for the Adopt a Highway program in Nacogdoches County. Unfortunately, Keep Texas Beautiful and TxDOT don't see that happening any time soon. So, they promote grassroots efforts to educate and engage Texans in improving their community environment. "We hope by promoting these kinds of events, getting everyone out to help clean up their community that we can make a difference,"  said Debbie Stevens, Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful member and trash off coordinator. Statewide during last year's trash-off, 61,000 volunteers collected more than 5 million pounds of litter.

Each bottle cap and piece of glass that Joe Devine picks up in a city park is a gift to other Texans. "This creek goes into the Angelina River and then goes into the Neches river. Along the Neches you'll find little bits of scrap that probably came from way up here," said Devine.

Trash off is one of those projects where you fill good collecting a whole pickup load of trash, while at the same time it makes you angry. "In some of the places we just picked up, you go back through and there's trash already thrown back out there," expressed William Sanders, volunteer and Nacogdoches City Commissioner.  "We were just looking at it awhile ago. I don't know why they do it, but, it really, I don't know. I guess they just don't care."

Thank goodness for the Texans who do care.

For ways you can help keep Texas clean go to  www.dontmesswithtexas.org