City of Lufkin's mowing exposes trash problem

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Trash along the median of Loop 287 is just a fraction of the nearly 400 pounds of litter workers pick up every day.

"If you're just picking up bits of paper, that's a lot of litter," said Lynn Winthrop of Lufkin Solid Waste and Recycling.

Not all of it can be recycled. Recent mowing only made the problem more visible.

"It's very frustrating because certain areas you can mow and it cuts the grass, but it exposes a lot of litter, so we'll end up back over there cleaning that up again too," Winthrop said.

It's a problem that has seen little improvement since the Purple Pride campaign began last June.

"We've been doing this a while and the average of what they pick up a day has gone down a little," Winthrop said. "Our community Pride campaign has done some good, but there's still a lot of people that don't do the right thing, they throw it out the window."

Winthrop says the city spends hours picking up hundreds of pounds of litter every day and they say some roads are worse than others.

"We can clean it up, it looks great, two weeks later it looks dirty again, so there's not a lack of work for the guys," Winthrop said.

Litterbugs could have to pay as much as 500 dollars, but that's not all.

"It carries with it the possibility of having a vehicle seized," Lufkin Police spokesman J.B. Smith said. "The court is required by statute to provide the offender upon first conviction with a notice that a second conviction could result in a seizure of the vehicle."

Sixteen citations were issued since the campaign began last year, up, just 4 in 2008.

"Just being in the right place at the right time," Smith said. "If an officer sees somebody throw it out, there's no difficulty in identifying who did it. It came out of the vehicle, which side of the vehicle and such. The problem comes when we just find the trash on the street."

So you could also be throwing your cash out the window.

June marks one year of Purple Pride in Lufkin, a zero-tolerance campaign to stop littering in East Texas.

©2010 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.