CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – NCDOT leaders are trying to take out the trash and get litterbugs off the roads by catching them in the act by having drivers report them through an app.
The Swat-A-Litterbug campaign has been a part of NCDOT since the late 1980s, but now it’s adapting with new technology in the form of an app. These changes come at a time when communities across North Carolina are seeing an increase in litter.
No matter where your drive takes you, you’re bound to find trash along the way. So far this year NCDOT crews have collected nearly 3 million pounds of trash statewide, which is about 1 million pounds per month.
“Plastic really bothers me because it has a public health hazard, it’s not just an eyesore,” said one driver.
Last month trash across the city forced Gastonia City Council to double the fines for littering.
FOX 46 has covered the efforts this year by NCDOT crews to clean up trash. Leaders hope making it easier to report people illegally throwing out trash will help curve the problem.
The Swat-A-Litterbug App lets you report someone littering by reporting their license plate.
“Well, we are expecting more people to report litterbugs now that it has become easier to do so,” said Harris Kay from NCDOT.
Swat-A-Litterbug reports have been around for years through a website, but now it’s in the palm of your hand.
“An application and phone apps kinda make it simple, which was the next logical step,” said Kay.
Here is how it works: When you submit a report it goes to the NCDOT environment team. Leaders at NCDOT match the license plate number up with an address. The information is handed over to Highway Patrol, who will send a letter to the accused litterbug reminding them of the fines and laws associated with littering.
“The program is entirely informative and it has to be as the report itself is anonymous and there is always the risk of people making mistakes, but many people I believe just need to know that littering is a problem or other people are watching them,” said Kay.
The app just launched last week so NCDOT leaders do not have any numbers yet about how many reports have been submitted.