Lexi Garcia
Tatum Goetting
Corbin Smith

At the east and west gateways to the Historic Northeast, piles of trash serve as an untidy welcome sign. The less-than-desirable mounds are a cause for concern among community members who are unsure of who should be responsible for retrieving them.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is in charge of picking up the trash bags on MoDOT property on scheduled days and also distributing the bags through their Adopt-A-Highway group.

“We traditionally do pick ups before we mow, at least three big mows a year,” said MoDOT Communications Manager Melissa Black. “We have over 7,000 miles of roads we have to maintain and a lot of other jobs we have to do. It’s an endless list of things and our main focus is always going to be keeping the roads as safe as possible for the motorists out there. Litter and trash end up going to the bottom of the list.”

For trash that is left on the roadsides, MoDOT urges people to call 888-275-6636 for pick up.

Black said MoDOT has also given trash bags to unsheltered people in the Metro who have picked up their own trash and left it for MoDOT to dispose of.

“I don’t knovw that we have a specific policy on [unsheltered people and trash] but we just want people to be safe,” Black said.

Volunteers and Kansas City Parks Ambassadors pick up trash throughout the Northeast.They meet up once a week and volunteers also do brush removal as well.

“We pretty much organize a pick up spot, date and time that we will pick it up,” Parks Superintendent Kevin Evans said. “On trash day we’ll come right behind them within an hour and pick up the trash bags.”

If the trash were to not be picked up, it would then pile up on the side of the highway or on the sides of the street.

Kansas City Parks and Recreation’s website gives community members information on voluntary clean up opportunities and more.

The City-provided trash bags come in two colors: orange and blue. The orange trash bags are for contractors that do cleanups around the Northeast area and the blue trash bags are used by neighborhood associations.

Travis Silvers, Illegal Dumping Investigator for the City of Kansas City, Mo., said the City only picks up blue and orange trash bags. He advised to put these full trash bags in a centralized area after clean up and then notify 311 for pick up.

“A lot of our contractors do extensive clean up,” Silvers said. “The City’s goal is to keep the parks clean [and] keep the Northeast clean as much as we possibly can within the resources that we have at this time.”