Trash Piles Up in the Permian Basin

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

It keeps piling up on some of our busiest highways and by-ways. 

Trash is littering some of the most popular areas around town including our airport. 

A stretch of Highway 1788 is a part of the Adopt-A-Highway program.

Right now, no one has adopted it, and as a result there's more trash than ever. 

TXDOT tells us the oil boom is to blame.

"Several businesses that had employee groups that were actively involved in the program and the busier they got, it became virtually impossible to do it on a regular basis," Glen Larum, Public Information Officer with the Texas Department of Transportation, said.

According to Larum, the oil boom has left several sections of highway up for adoption stretches along Business 20, 1788, 191, and 128 near Midland need a sponsor, and that surprises TXDOT workers.

"We see trash all the time," Larum said. "And people who work and live and grew up and are so proud of Texas or are so proud of being Texan and yet, they'll eat fast food from one of the fast food places and throw the wrapper out the window. I do not understand that kind of behavior."

Even though littering is a problem here in Texas, it's actually improved over time. 

Campaigns like Don't Mess With Texas and Adopt-A-Highway programs have helped decrease littering by about 70 percent over the last 30 years.

"We target specific audiences that are littering, and we try to get them to think about what they're doing," Larum said.

TXDOT says young children are often the most environment-conscious.

"When they're introduced to it in the first, second, and third grades and they're going down the road and they see their mom or dad and they say 'No no no you cant do that!' That's been one of our great allies in this cause," Larum said.

Larum says when you get involved, it changes your perspective.

"I can promise you one thing, if you adopt a section of highway and go out an clean it up for your two year term, you and the people who went out and worked with you will never litter again," Laurm said.

TXDOT tells us part of the trash build-up right now is due to nearby construction. 

They hope once the projects are finished the debris will begin to clear.