Ever see someone toss trash out of their car onto the ground? “Trash” can be anything really: paper, food, cups, and yes, cigarette butts. It’s really surprising what some folks think is just fine to toss out for someone else to pick up (or very likely not pick up). If I were to write a list of things that aggravate me while driving, near the top of that mile-long scroll would be littering. Few acts show such an arrogance, disregard, abuse, and selfishness as blatantly flicking something to the ground that you’d very likely put in a trash can if it were in your own home.
Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m by no means a chain-myself-to-the-bulldozer tree hugger. However, I do appreciate my environment–both the urban and natural ones. So to see someone flagrantly disrespect it really chaps my hide. So you can imagine my delight when I first learned about the North Carolina Department of Transportation “Swat-A-Litterbug” campaign and program. I think I first saw it on a roadside billboard years ago. It directed folks to a website where you could fill out a form with a car’s details when you witnessed someone littering. Yes, it’s tattle-tailing and I don’t care. Some things are worth “snitching” about, and this one most certainly makes the cut.
Since I first learned of the program, I’ve reported maybe four or five cars for littering. And what reward do I get for such an act of highway bravery: a badge of honor; a vehicle tax break; a plastic NC Highway Patrol Junior Patrolman badge??? Nope, none of the above. I get a small peace of mind knowing that the litterbug will get a package in the mail informing them of their wrongdoing and encouraging them to not do it again. Per the NCDOT website, they will receive the following letter:
If you’d rather phone in a report, call 1-877-DOT-4YOU (1-877-368-4968)