Keep the pressure on leaders to address highway litter issue

Much thanks to Lynn Collins for her recent letter in the Kitsap Sun about all the trash and litter on Kitsap highways.

I belong to the South Kitsap Rotary Club and we do a cleanup on a small one mile portion of Highway 16, but our efforts seem meaningless when the rest of the highway looks like a garbage dump. Every highway in Washington looks this way, and it only gets worse. I was in Mexico recently and their highways are cleaner than ours.

I have contacted the DOT about cleaning up other areas along Sedgwick and have been told "you are not permitted" to clean up the highways without authorization and an agreement with DOT. When I have asked who has permission and how I can reach them to offer help, I am told by the DOT that they cannot release that information. It is maddening.

We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth and this is what we are doing to it. We need political leadership and the DOT to step up and step in, and ask how they can help as partners with their fellow citizens to get this cleaned up. And then keep it clean with cameras, law enforcement and signage that warns of significant fines. Seattle is now doing this with their graffiti problem, embracing the notion of accountability and consequences for bad behavior.

Write and call your legislators, write more letters to the editor like this, and then consider joining groups like Rotary that will do something. Go to a Rotary meeting and learn about how you can help with other service to the community as well.

Mike Nicosia, South Kitsap

This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: Keep the pressure on leaders to address highway litter issue