Tri-Cities Teens Picking Up Trash - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tri-Cities Teens Picking Up Trash

Posted: Updated:
Pasco, WASH. -- Some local teens have a job that puts money in their pockets and takes trash off the roads. A group of 8 kids in Pasco are picking up litter like this pop can as part of the Ecology Youth Corps.

400 teens across 11 Eastern Washington counties are hitting highways on the hunt for trash. Cars zip by at 70 miles per hour and the heat beats down on the pavement, but these teens continue to pick up what others have thrown on the side of the road.

Corps worker Brandon Martin says, "I'm doing my part, keeping the environment clean, just having a good time out here." The teens are paid minimum wage, $7.93 an hour, but last year they were responsible for picking up 230,000 pounds of garbage in Eastern Washington.

Hector Lopez says, "It's just a little better, safer, ecause we know that we're making a difference."

Corps instructors say that besides cleaning up roads, the new job also allows teens to build relationships. Instructor Annabel Naccarato says, "You get to know 'em. You tell them, we're going to be like family because we're so close together. We drive together to and from work."

Together, they battle the heat, and see all kinds of trash. And with their work, the teens say they just don't understand why someone would litter. Martin says, "That just shows they don't have respect for their surroundings, for the city."

Lopez says that if you are ever tempted to throw something out the window, "just don't because then a bunch of teenagers has to pick it up in the hot sun."