Group gathers 300 bags of trash

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Despite cooler temperatures and windy weather, volunteers were out on Wednesday morning to participate in the “Toss No Mas” cleanup campaign.

More than 300 bags of trash were picked up by volunteers from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, the city of Portales, Eastern New Mexico University and Portales students and local citizens.

“People just don’t realize how much trash is out there,” said Manon Arnett, public information officer with the NMDOT.

More than 230 volunteers pre-registered for the event, including 90 Portales High band students who will be out on Saturday, Arnett said.

Arnett said trash along the highways is unsightly not only for the community but for tourists visiting the community.

“We just need to educate people and let them know not to toss out their trash,” Arnett said.

For more than a decade the “Toss No Mas” campaign has been an ongoing effort by the state to educate the public about littering, District Two Engineer Gary Shubert said.

“In essence, it’s an effort to clean up the state roads and state highways in New Mexico,” Shubert said. “This event is an opportunity to highlight the impacts of littering.”

There are 10 NMDOT employees in the Portales area who are responsible for maintaining 700 laned miles in the area, which is equivalent to one lane being one mile long, Shubert said.

Each employee is responsible for 60 of those miles, according to Shubert. With their other duties, it is hard for the employees to keep up with litter control, he said.