PictureThe “don’ts” and dos” of hauling debris in a truck. Courtesy image.

Mill Valley residents Jill Whitebook and Vicky Dehnert co-founded Marin Clean Highways, an organization dedicated to ridding “our county of the eyesore that litter creates on our highways,” five years ago. But while their battle with debris has made headway over the past half-decade, they continue to focus on combatting litter at its source: uncovered trucks hauling debris up and down Highway 101 on the way to local dumps.

Whitebook and Dehnert have pushed a “Tarp Your Load” campaign in recent years, hoping to convince haulers to cover the debris in their trucks and prevent it from ending up along the shoulders and frontage roads. And just as they did with litter removal, the pair have found allies to help their cause.

The Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (MCSTOPPP), a coalition of 11 cities and towns and the County of Marin that focuses on addressing stormwater pollution, has agreed to collaborate with Marin Clean Highways and other local partners to help eliminate roadway trash and debris at a Secure Your Load event on October 27.​

The event, set for 11am-3:30pm at Marin Sanitary Service (565 Jacoby Street, San Rafael), will feature free tarps for haulers’ uncovered loads. They’ll also get a chance to learn about California’s law requiring secure truck loads and the environmental impact.

Trash is not only unsightly on Marin’s roadways – it enters waterways, polluting the water and hurting the environment and wildlife,” MCSTOPPP officials said in a statement. “Much of the trash and debris on Marin’s highways comes from trucks hauling unsecured loads, such as loose trash and other materials, which may fall out and create unsightly and potentially unsafe conditions. The goal of the Secured Loads program is to keep local roadways clean through awareness, education and enforcement of state and local littering laws. MCSTOPPP plans to make this a quarterly event to help inform the public.
MCSTOPPP’s Secured Loads partners include Marin Clean Highways, California Highway Patrol, Caltrans, Marin Sanitary Service, Marin County Supervisors Kathrin Sears, Steve Kinsey and Damon Connolly, Senator Mark McGuire, and Assemblyman Marc Levine. The event is sponsored in part by Jackson’s Hardware, San Rafael McDonald’s, and Marin Builder’s Association. 
“We need residents to help us reduce litter by properly securing and tarping their load before driving,” said Terri Fashing, Stormwater Program Administrator. “Most people don’t want to see trash on their drive home. We need to get the word out that properly securing your load is the responsible thing to do, it’s the law, and it protects our environment.”
To volunteer in this effort, please contact Angela Clapp at MCSTOPPP. To learn about the many ways you can reduce pollutants in our waterways, visit the MCSTOPPP website. For information on past events, visit Marin Clean Highways.

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