Adopt-a-Highway Program Picking up Speed in Rockford
Every year, Illinois spends more than 6 million dollars on litter pickup.
Pat Fong is a volunteer with Rotary of Rockford East-Cherry Valley. She says that the group comes out four times a year to pick up trash alongside East State Street near I-90 via the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Adopt-a-Highway program. Fong said that the area has seen significant improvement.
“Oh my goodness, the first time it's like we just picked up a great, just a ton of garbage,” said Fong. “Just anywhere from you know metal, tires, plastics, paper bags, you know, just just really garbage.”
Joe Schatteman with IDOT said the program started up again last June after limiting activity at the beginning of the pandemic. He says turnout is beginning to return to pre-pandemic numbers.
“Absolutely. I see people coming out,” said Schatteman. “I mean, the number of reports that we got in just for the month of April alone was very high.”
The data from IDOT shows that in 2020, volunteers collected 656 bags of garbage. And, so far this year volunteers have already collected nearly 600 bags.
- Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.