Iowa law enforcement partners with nonprofit to discourage roadway littering

Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 5:22 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Keep Iowa Beautiful along with Iowa law enforcement are keeping garbage off the roadways one phone call at a time. With the hot line, 1-888-NO-LITTR (1-888-665-4887), the group encourages other drivers to call with reports of what they see.

“Then our partnership with the highway patrol will then send a letter to those folks gently reminding them that this isn’t acceptable and your community is watching,” said Keep Iowa Beautiful Executive Director, Andy Frantz.

While the offenders won’t be charged, local law enforcement still views these efforts as a way to deter drivers from committing the crime. It can be quite challenging to cite someone otherwise.

“We need to be able to witness that and we also need to be able to prove that it happened,” said Maj. Chad Colston with the Linn County Sheriff’s Department. “If there’s multiple people in the car, how do you know who’s the one that threw that out? Usually we’re not going to be close enough to see who exactly threw it out.”

That’s where this hotline can help law enforcement hold everyone on the roadways responsible for keeping the state clean.

“Sometimes that - if you want to call it - shaming might make people think twice the next time they go to flick something out the window as they’re driving down the road,” said Maj. Colston.

Through this hot line, Keep Iowa Beautiful and Iowa State Patrol were able to issue 40 warning letters just last year. Those letters not only tell the drivers that their car was linked to littering, but also lists the date and location of the reported offense.