Regular litter cleanups began this month along selected state highway ramps within the city
VANCOUVER – Backed by a new state law and grant funding, the city of Vancouver is working with state of Washington and Clark County agencies to help address litter along key highway ramps.
Regular litter cleanups began this month along selected state highway ramps within the city, the result of Vancouver Public Works’ close collaboration with Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), state Department of Ecology and Clark County District Court’s Community Restitution Division. The ramp cleanups are currently anticipated to continue approximately twice per month through fall and winter of 2021, with this work extending into 2022.
Maintaining a safe working zone is critical to this cleanup effort. Drivers are reminded to slow down, drive alert and leave ample room for crews working along the highway ramps.
This summer, City of Vancouver Public Works was awarded a $40,000 state Department of Ecology Community Litter Cleanup grant for litter abatement along WSDOT ramps over the next two years. Public Works staff are providing traffic control, data collection, proper disposal/recycling and project oversight, while the District Court’s Community Restitution Division crews are picking up the litter along ramps. The grant was created through recent state legislation – Welcome to Washington – Litter Cleanup Act (SB5093) – and only pertains to highway ramps.
Julie Gilbertson, solid waste supervisor with the Vancouver Public Works, said the added ramp cleanups reflect the city’s ongoing efforts to address litter in and around the community. Since 2017, Vancouver Public Works’ Solid Waste Utility has helped fund Share’s innovative Talkin’ Trash program to clean up litter along city rights-of-ways and city properties throughout Vancouver while providing individuals experiencing homelessness with positive job and life skills training. Supported by Solid Waste Utility funding and the city’s volunteer program, the city has also launched a new Litter Stewards pilot program in response to local residents’ interest in helping to clean up the community.
Litter is preventable, and cleanups are time-consuming and costly. Despite this, food wrappers, cans and other litter are commonly seen along roadways everywhere. The Department of Ecology estimates that more than 12 million pounds of litter is tossed or blown onto our highways each year.
Help keep Washington litter free. Keep a bag in your vehicle to collect trash and unwanted materials and properly dispose of these at home or in designated trash/recycling containers. Remember that whether moving or going to a transfer station, all loads must be secured when transporting materials. Learn more here about statewide efforts to prevent and address roadside litter.
Information provided by city of Vancouver.