Caltrans launched a new public awareness campaign today – “Let’s Change This to That” – to help reduce the amount of litter and other pollutants on highways that end up in California’s water system. Using striking visual comparisons of dirty and pristine roadsides and landscapes, the campaign encourages Californians to pitch in to keep highways clean and our water drinkable, swimmable and fishable.
“Trash on our roadsides is more than just an eyesore – it’s a threat to the priceless waterways we enjoy for recreation and rely on for safe drinking water,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “When it comes to deciding between a waterway tarnished by litter and other highway pollutants or a clean body of water all Californians can enjoy, the choice is simple – and the power is in our hands. Working together, let’s change this to that.”
The campaign serves as another touchpoint in the state’s massively expanded push to remove trash and beautify roadsides, and complements Clean California, the sweeping, $1.1 billion, multiyear cleanup effort introduced in Governor Gavin Newsom’s California Comeback Plan.
Litter, contents from unsecured vehicle loads and illegal dumping, auto fluids, pet waste, sediment, metals from tire and brake wear, and debris that accumulate on vehicles, streets and highways can flow into streams, rivers, lakes and coastal waters during storms and diminish water quality. The “Let’s Change This to That” campaign will focus on how to prevent these stormwater pollutants from entering our waterways.
The campaign will emphasize ways all Californians can make a difference:
- Make a Change: Individual actions can have a major impact on California’s waterways. To ensure that those impacts are positive, make simple changes such as using a tarp to tie down loose items in truck beds; cleaning up after pets on walks; packing up all trash on outings and properly disposing of it; and avoiding using lawn and garden chemicals, especially when rain is forecast. These changes can help reduce pollutants flowing into local waterways.
- Get Involved: Learn more about what stormwater pollution is and where it comes from on the Clean California website and explore ways to help. Adopt a segment of highway for litter removal or dispose of oversized trash items such as appliances and furniture at a Caltrans “Free Dump Day” event.
- Tell Others: Share what you do to protect California’s environment and waterways with friends, neighbors and family, and share links to the Clean California website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.
The three-year statewide campaign will include:
- Collaboration with all 58 California counties
- Advertising on billboards, radio, digital marketing, social media and live events
- Community outreach in partnership with public, private and nonprofit groups
- Multilingual information and public outreach
- Comprehensive information on pollution, resources, partnerships and how to get involved
- Clean-up events along California waterways
More information about stormwater pollution and “Let’s Change This to That” campaign resources are available on the Clean California website.