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CLE trash troubles hit highways and overpasses

Posted at 9:51 PM, Apr 04, 2016

Trash and illegal dumping has hit Cleveland highways and the areas surround freeway over-passes especially hard this year.

Even the Ohio Department of Transportation District 12 office admitted in an email, "For some reason this year it just seems so much worse, so it’s taking more time."

Cleveland city clean-up crew leader David Reuse told newsnet5.com the problem has reached a peak because more drivers are throwing trash out of their windows, and illegal dumping is on an upswing.

Reuse has even caught drivers red-handed, and despite stepped up city enforcement through Cleveland's Environmental Task Force, trash troubles keep growing.

"I thought this guy was changing a flat tire along the highway, I come to find out he was dumping on the side of the freeway, throwing it over the guardrail," said Reuse.

"I've been in the dump on a Sunday ten times at 23.8 tons, the next week was like eight times a 18 tons."

Reuse said his team just can't keep pace with the amount of trash that is being tossed out by motorists, and he believes ODOT needs to increase it's anti-litter education and clean-up effort.

"I think ODOT needs to do more enforcement and get out here and do the work that they're supposed to," said Reuse.

ODOT responded, and told newsnet5.com:

"Since March 1, ODOT and the Court Community Service program have collected more than 8,400 bags of trash from northeast Ohio Interstates!  We will continue doing this all spring, summer and fall until the snow comes around again.

On June 4th, ODOT, Keep Ohio Beautiful, Keep Cleveland Beautiful, the city of Cleveland, the Alliance for the Great Lakes and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress are jointly throwing a litter clean-up day in Greater Cleveland." 

Cleveland Councilman Brian Cummins believes part of the solution is better anti-litter education, especially for younger teens.

"There's a real problem now with the younger generation. We literally see people throw stuff out windows now. I haven't seen that since I was a little kid," said Cummins.

Cummins also urged residents to get involved by reporting illegal dumping by contacting the city hotline at 216-664-3867.