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Litter and panhandlers along I-75 South getting onto Immokalee Rd

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

There’s no evidence of who’s responsible for the mess on the highway. Still, the Florida Department of Transportation told WINK News it’s their responsibility to clean up the litter on the highway and its exits.

Panhandlers, shopping carts filled with trash, pillows, coolers, chairs, and lots of litter scattered pell-mell along I-75 South exit 111 to get onto Immokalee Road.

Naples resident, Dina Moretti, spoke with WINK News about the increasingly dirty area.

“Starting to look like the streets of the Bronx. There’s just, you know, sleeping bags. And bottles. And beer bottles and just absolute trash on the sides of the streets,” Moretti said.

The trash along the side of I-75. CREDIT: WINK News

Moretti told WINK News she drives past the bags, bottles, and cans to get home every day. And it was never something she expected to see in Naples.

“I was an NYPD detective for 20 years, newly retired from the Bronx, and we moved here to get away from that and to not be in that type of environment, and it’s extremely discouraging to see that here. That’s why we moved here,” Moretti said.

Moretti is not the only person thinking along these lines. The litter and panhandlers on either side of the road around the exit have caused quite a commotion.

One man called the exit an eyesore and said it was time for Collier to clean the mess up and “get rid of the so-called beggars.”

Trash near I-75. CREDIT: WINK News

More than 100 comments from neighbors, Moretti included, asked for solutions.

“I’m hoping for resolution. I’m hoping that the local municipalities can do something about it. Collier County has an abundance of resources for homeless,” Moretti said.

WINK News asked the county: What punishments would people face for littering, and who is responsible for what the panhandlers do?

The county didn’t answer those questions directly but sent a county ordinance that limits how panhandlers can approach vehicles and use medians. You can read that ordinance here or in the document below.

A Collier County spokeswoman also said FDOT is responsible for picking litter up on state highways and exits.

After asking FDOT, they told WINK News they plan to send a crew to clean up the area.

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