AUSTIN – With a growing number of discarded face masks, gloves and sanitizing wipes found littering roadways and parking lots, Don’t mess with Texas called on the help of some celebrity friends to remind fellow Texans that the only safe way to dispose of used Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is in a trash can.
Oscar winner and Minister of Culture/M.O.C. Matthew McConaughey and country music legend George Strait are lending their voices to new video public service announcements (PSA) that urge Texans to clean up their act, including proper disposal of used PPE. The PSAs will air on TV networks, cable channels and digital platforms starting this week. Other Texas celebrities joining McConaughey and Strait in raising awareness about the issue are Mark Cuban, Eva Longoria, Marsai Martin, Ally Brooke and Brittany Broski. Each are using their social media channels to share a personal video message reminding followers that Don’t mess with Texas means don’t litter.
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing a significant uptick in the amount of PPE litter. Not only is it unsightly, it is also harmful to the environment and a danger to public health,” said Becky Ozuna, program administrator for the Don’t mess with Texas campaign. “When you’re done with your masks, gloves and wipes, do the right thing and dispose of them properly. This simple action helps keep Texas clean and safe.”
To promote pride in keeping Texas litter-free, Don’t mess with Texas cloth face masks are now available for purchase at TexasHighways.com in the Mercantile shop. The masks are washable and reusable, and include a pocket for a filter to be inserted.
Approximately 362 million pieces of litter accumulate on Texas roads every year with items discarded from vehicles accounting for half of all litter. It is illegal to litter in Texas. Those who are caught littering can face a fine of $500. If the tossed litter weighs more than five pounds, the fine can increase up to $2,000.
Don’t mess with Texas has been educating Texans about litter prevention since 1986. The program includes a grassroots partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful, annual “Trash-Off” community outreach events and the Adopt-a-Highway volunteer program.
For media inquiries, contact TxDOT Media Relations at MediaRelations@txdot.gov or (512) 463-8700.