Drivers on Long Island are asked to take special care in the coming weeks, as added crews of state Department of Transportation workers are out cleaning up litter and removing debris from state highways. This is in conjunction with the department’s Spring Cleanup 2016 campaign, which started Monday and runs through April 29.

As they take special care to slow down and give these workers a wide berth, drivers might also be reminded that in tossing coffee cups and other trash out their windows, they’re contributing to the need to spend extra tax dollars on such efforts.

“Litter removal is a task that we wouldn’t need to spend resources on if all motorists properly disposed of garbage, instead of disposing it along the roads, which not only creates eye sores, but threatens the safety of Long Island’s unique natural habitat,” said Joseph Brown, DOT regional director, in a news release.

The cleanup effort is being coordinated with law enforcement agencies, construction contractors and Sponsor-A-Highway groups, the DOT said.

Beyond the expense and littered-up look to the area, there are plenty of other good reasons for drivers to refrain from taking the easy way out and tossing their trash on roadway, with the DOT sharing a few:

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  • Plastic bags clog drains and chemicals seep into the water supply with highway storm runoff.
  • Bags and trash can catch fire or block a motorist’s view if caught in the wind.
  • Discarded containers are potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes that spread harmful diseases.
  • Roadside boxes become suspicious objects that threaten infrastructure security.

“We are asking everyone who uses our roads to do their part to help us keep our roads clean,” Brown said.