Long Island drivers have once again ranked as the worst litterbugs in New York State, according to state Department of Transportation (DOT) officials and reports.

The DOT and a team of volunteers reportedly collected 18 tons of trash from the sides of state roads and parkways over Earth Day weekend.

“Our crews…spend more time actually cleaning the sides of the roadway than plowing snow and fixing potholes, unfortunately,” Joe Brown, LI regional director of DOT, told FiOS1. “I want to encourage people to keep the bags in their cars, cigarette butts in their cars, find a place to drop them off. Every time they throw something out, it’s costing taxpayers’ money cleaning it up.”

The report followed the DOT’s annual trash blitz, when it spends $6 million cleaning up litter from the side of roads statewide. The DOT similarly found LI drivers littered most in recent years.

Garbage strewn roadways are not only an unattractive nuisance, they present dangers as well, the DOT said. Litter, particularly plastic bags, can clog drains and cause chemicals to seep into water supplies with highway storm run-off. And discarded containers can become potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes that spread harmful diseases.

The DOT urged drivers to extend the results of this clean-up by keeping their personal trash inside their own vehicles until they can dispose of it at proper trash receptacles

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