Curious About Trash Along Massachusetts Highways

BOSTON (CBS) – Now that most of the snow has melted, we’re seeing green grass and lots of trash, especially along our highways.

Vito in Centerville Declared his Curiosity, writing:

“I just drove back from Florida. As I crossed into Massachusetts, I was stunned to see the trash on our highways! It was an eye opener!”

It turns out our trash troubles are bigger and costlier this year.

WBZ-TV’s David Wade reports.

Welcome to Trash-achusetts, where this spring, you, the taxpayer, will feel the sting of the litter bug.

Need a torn up couch? How about a toilet? The trail of trash we found along our highways is gross and expensive.

The acting highway commissioner said that last year, the state spent about $750,000 on trash pick-up. This year, it will be more than $900,000.

“We would much rather be using that money on resurfacing roads, repairing bridges and other parts of the system,” said Frank DePoala of MassDOT.

The state said this year the trash got buried under all that snow we had. They couldn’t pick it up for months, and once they did start the spring cleaning, they noticed for whatever reason, there was more of it this year. Apparently, we’ve been slobs.

The past few weeks, highway crews, inmates and volunteers, through the adopt-a-highway program have been bagging it up and throwing it away.

Things will look better in a few weeks.

The clean-up money is the same taxpayer money used for potholes, roads and bridges. Some of those are trashed in a different way.

More from Declare Your Curiosity
  • taxedout

    Don’t worry, if the people who want to get rid of the bottle bill have their way, I’m sure all the Nice people of Mass will start putting their bottles and cans in the recycle bin and if told will also pick up thier trash!!!! Good Luck

    • Devon Smith

      You should see I195 and its ramps. What a dump. I’m embarred to show visitors around. I never see MassHWY out there, but I always see them near the Cape. We need to start enforcing the litter laws, or at least put the prisoners and welfare recipients to work.

  • emom

    What amazes me is the goverment managed to have people ADOPT A HIGHWAY… Just so they AVOID klcleaning them,… we pay taxes to maintain the roads and briges YET we have volenteers that have adopted a section of road all over the commonwealth ,,,,, YET they now tell us its going to cost us $900,000 , gee and they have a HUGE budget crisis,,,, pray tell where are they to GET this so called money,,, which service will get a major cut … I cant wait to hear their rational on this one.


    It’s our Massachusett’s sign of Spring. Other states signs of Spring are hordes of beautiful butterflies or colorfull birds. Ours is empty vodka bottles and McDonalds wrappers by the roadside.

  • dms

    The state shouldn’t have to spend 900K for the spring cleanup. Who dumps toilet bowls and furniture off the highway? I constantly see people throwing fast food trash, coffee cups, etc. out of their car windows. What is wrong with pigs? The littering fines need to be strictly enforced and the fines need to be painful enough to be an effective deterrent.

  • response

    900K? can’t they use certain inmates to do this?

  • Pete

    It says something about the people that live here.

  • marty

    why does it cost anything?? this should all be done be inmates….make them atl east earn a portion of their keep!!


    In-mates from county prison are available to pick up trash, but you have to request them. The Highway Department don’t use them all the time probably because there is too much litter for the number of available in-mates, or maybe the Highway Department workers union file grievances saying they should do the work and receive overtime pay.

  • taxedout

    Maybe to tough a job for thr inmates, besides we have Over paid departments to do the job, and as you can see they do a Terriffic job!!!! Tell it to the Gov you re elected….Oh out of town Again!!!! I’m sure some of the Trash on the side of the road are some of his books!!!! Rock On Gov!!!!

  • al

    Strange how you people are always blaming the state or town for the cleaning of our highways and streets and never blame the people that are causing the problem. The people. anyone who throws trash out the window or off the back of the truck. If you people would show some respect to your highways and streets we would’nt have this problem. Our streets and highways are NOT the trash barrel for society. So if you want to keep the highways and streets clean, then STOP!!!! throwing trash on them.

  • Willow

    al, I agree with you, however, I don’t see an end to this kind of llittering. Some people have no respect for their environment, or a persons property. I’ve seen young people come out of a store with a candy bar and take the wrapping off and just let it drop to the ground while they walked away. Our main street is littered with every kind of trash, and it continues to get worse. I see fast food trash everywhere. Unfortunately, we have to live with the pigs of society.

  • al

    I understand that Mass. has a law against littering, but they don’t enforce it. They also had a sign on the highways that said it was a $250.00 for littering the highway, But they took the signs down, I guess because the cops could’nt be bothered. Maybe one day they all will wake up and see what they’re doing and hopefully stop.

  • Dylan

    Every time I drive down the highway I am absolutely REPULSED by the amount of rubbish lining the streets.

    People need to stop being too lazy to properly dispose of their waste, this is disgusting.

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