Focal Point: “Trash Talk”
New WRAL Documentary Examines Litter Problem on N.C. Highways
Airs Wednesday August 8, 2007, 7pm
“We’re almost drowning in trash in North Carolina.”
— State Senator Jim Jacumin
Drive just about any highway in North Carolina and you’ll see litter, including beverage containers, fast food wrappers, plastic grocery bags and more. Get out and take a closer look alongside just about any highway or city street and you’ll see thousands of cigarette butts. It’s clear that litter is a problem in North Carolina. WRAL’s new Focal Pointdocumentary “Trash Talk” examines the state’s litter problem and its impact. It looks at litter’s cost and reveals how it has tarnished some of our state’s most treasured places. The documentary is hosted by WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Debra Morgan and airs Wednesday, August 8, 2007 at 7pm on WRAL-TV.
In 2006 the state spent $16.6 million of your tax dollars to pick up almost five million pounds of litter along our roadsides. State sponsored Adopt-A-Highway volunteers picked up another 3.6 million pounds and other volunteers picked up nearly two million pounds more. Experts say about half the litter is intentionally tossed from car windows and the other half blows out of the back of open trucks.
In addition to the cost of clean-up there are hidden costs to litter too. It hurts the state’s image in the eyes of visitors which can damage our state’s 15 billion dollar tourism industry. It can hinder efforts to attract new business and industry to the state.
Litter can also harm the environment when it washes into streams and waterways.
Littering is also illegal, yet out of more than 1.1 million tickets issued by the highway patrol last year, less than 900 were for littering and only about 1200 were for unsecured loads on trucks. And the state has no targeted, paid TV or radio advertising campaign to try and discourage people from littering in the first place.
“Trash Talk” is the seventeenth episode in the WRAL documentary series called Focal Point. These in-depth news documentaries focus on a single topic, bringing depth and clarity to complicated issues facing North Carolina. From North Carolina’s economy and environment, to health care and race relations – Focal Point takes viewers inside the lives of the people most affected. Focal Point tackles the tough questions with leaders and policymakers who have the power to effect change. WRAL News anchors, including David Crabtree, Pam Saulsby, Bill Leslie, Gerald Owens and Debra Morgan, host the series. Six to eight new episodes of Focal Point will be produced each year.
Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Clay Johnson for this capcom story.