The Texas Department of Transportation has enlisted the "Don't Mess With Texas" campaign and some local celebrities to remind fellow Texans of the safe ways to dispose of used personal protective equipment, or PPE.
According to TxDOT, discarded face masks, gloves, and sanitizing wipes have been found littering parking lots and roadways. The only way to dispose of used PPE is in a trash can, TxDOT said.
Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey and country music legend George Strait are helping to create video public service announcements urging Texans to dispose of used PPE in the proper way.
The PSAs will air on TV networks, cable channels, and digital platforms starting this week, and they will also feature Texas celebrities like Mark Cuban, Eva Longoria, Marsai Martin, Ally Brooke, and Brittany Broski.
TxDOT said the celebrities are sharing personal video messages on their social media platforms 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," Becky Ozuna, program administrator for the Don't Mess With Texas campaign, said. "Not only is it unsightly, it is also harmful to the environment and a danger to public health. 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."
Also, "Don't Mess With Texas" washable, reusable cloth face masks are available for purchase at TexasHighways.com.
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TxDOT said though littering is illegal in Texas, approximately 362 million pieces of litter accumulate on Texas roads every year. Items discarded from vehicles accounting for half of all litter.
Individuals caught littering can face a fine of $500. The fine can increase up to $2,000 if the litter weighs more than five pounds.