A new Hood County cleanup group has adopted a highway and hopes litter pick-up efforts inspire others to do the same.
The Hood County Citizens Litter Initiative was formed by a group of residents hoping to make a difference, said member Cathy Castro. The group “adopted” two miles of Highway 51 for the next two years and will host several cleanup events during that time frame.
The Hood County group joins roughly 3,700 other Adopt-a-Highway groups across the state through the Texas Department of Transportation program. The program began in 1985 in the Lone Star State in an effort to prevent litter, save taxpayers’ dollars and keep the rights-of-way clean, according to the group.
“When people see that plain Jane citizens are volunteering, stepping up, giving just a little bit of their time because this is where we live, it matters,” she said. “Let’s get together, and let’s make a difference.”
The first event will be next to the group’s new sign, which reads, “Hood Co. Volunteers” instead of the “Hood County Citizens Litter Initiative” because the original name was too long for the sign, Castro said, with a laugh.
The group will meet at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019 on Highway 51, across from the Brazos River Authority’s Hunter Park near Laguna Tres.
The group of environmentally-conscious friends have been picking up litter along Highway 51 for a while, as well as at the neighboring Hunter Park, she said. The adoption just more or less makes their efforts official.
“This park is a nice park,” she said. “We know how irresponsible people are. When you make a difference and show things are being done, more people will follow suit. We can step up and work hand in hand. The city, the county, the Brazos River Authority, they can’t do it all. They can’t be out here every minute of every day.”
Castro said she was inspired by a similar volunteer program when she lived in Burleson. That program, an effort sponsored by the Keep Burleson Beautiful program, is a local affiliate of the Keep Texas Beautiful program, a nonprofit network equipping local partners and affiliates with the tools to deploy local clean-ups, recycling efforts and youth engagement efforts. Keep Texas Beautiful is also a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful.
Keep Texas Beautiful hosts a series of events across the Brazos River basin throughout the year. You can find a list of those events here. Litter prevention efforts are vital across the basin as stormwater pollution is a major cause of contamination in our waterways. Everything from plastic bags to pesticides can be carried from the streets into the streams during rainfalls.
The BRA is a collaborative partner in the Texas Clean Rivers Program, a state fee-funded program aimed at ensuring safe, clean water supplies for the future of Texans’ drinking water needs, industry, agriculture, healthy ecosystems, and recreation. Taking care of our water is critical. Picking up litter is one way to help protect our environment.
When we take care of our water and environment, everyone benefits.
To find out more about the Hood County Citizens Litter Initiative, go here.