Problems with trash: Orange County drivers and officials are sick of seeing trash on state roads

The scenic routes of Orange County, including the bustling state roads like Routes 17 and 17M in Chester and Goshen, are under siege — not from traffic, but from an unrelenting adversary: litter. This issue has escalated, causing frustration and embarrassment among the local populace and officials alike, leading to a concerted cry for action.

The burgeoning problem caught the attention of News 12, propelled into the spotlight by concerned viewers who supplied an array of videos and photographs. These visuals serve as a stark testament to the gravity of the situation, showcasing the unsightly blight that has befallen some of Orange County’s most traveled thoroughfares.

At the forefront of the outcry is Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, who didn’t mince words when discussing the current state of affairs. “It just shows you that the system is failing,” Neuhaus lamented. He labeled the prevailing conditions of the state roads in the region, and particularly in Orange County, as “absolutely deplorable.”

The spotlight on state roads as hotspots for litter highlights a larger systemic issue. In response to the growing public discontent, State Assemblyman Brian Maher took matters into his own hands by collaborating with community volunteers to spearhead cleanup initiatives over a weekend.

Maher’s hands-on approach underlines the desperation and immediate need for action. He criticized the existing maintenance framework, particularly highlighting the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) admitted capacity for only annual cleanups as “unacceptable.”

While the community and its leaders push for change, the New York State Department of Transportation insists on its commitment to keeping the roads clean, albeit acknowledging the challenges.

A DOT representative, emphasizing the allocation of “serious resources” to trash removal, appealed for community involvement in mitigating the issue. Heather Pillsworth, a public information officer, underscored the importance of personal responsibility: “Litter is unsightly and harmful to the environment, which is why we all need to practice good disposal habits and encourage others to do the same.”

The dialogue around litter in Orange County is not a new development. Following last year’s reports by News 12, actions were taken, such as Troop F state police in Middletown issuing tickets to overweight garbage haulers, a move aimed at curtailing the spread of debris.

The effectiveness of these measures, however, remains to be fully seen, as comprehensive data on the enforcement efforts is awaited.

The crux of the issue may lie in resource allocation. Assemblyman Maher pointed out that Orange County ranks at the bottom in terms of funding and staffing for DOT services within the state. He contends that an injection of at least $100 million is required to bring the region’s road maintenance standards up to par.

The condition of Orange County’s roads is more than a mere inconvenience; it is a reflection of broader environmental and civic responsibilities. Maher encapsulates the communal sentiment, asserting, “We need to find a way to clean our roads more often so we aren’t the embarrassment of the tri-state area.”

This statement isn’t just a call for more frequent cleanups; it’s a rallying cry for systemic change, community engagement, and a renewed commitment to environmental stewardship. The litter issue in Orange County serves as a microcosm of a universal challenge — maintaining our shared spaces with respect and care for the benefit of all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *