A city has many streets, roads, and parking lots in it, where cars and trucks may drive at any hour of the day. These paved features are very important, and so is their upkeep. Some services will be called upon to repair and smooth over old or damaged roads or parking lots, or even tear them up and replace them if needed. When roads are freshly repaired or replaced, other crews may be hired to paint new lines on them such as arrows, lines to divide lanes, parking lot dividers, handicap-friendly areas, and more. Meanwhile, a less glamorous but no less important job is that of sweeper trucks. These parking lot sweeping services and street sweeper trucks are responsible for clearing away solid and liquid wastes and obstructions on paved surfaces, and road sweeping services are vital for keeping roads sanitary and safe to drive on. If these sweeper trucks and their services were to vanish, drivers would soon notice and they would not be happy. What sort of materials might these sweeper trucks remove from streets, highways, and parking lots? And how large has this industry become?
The Business of Street Sweeping
This is hardly a new concept. Street sweeping machines were patented, invented, and built as far back as 1849, during the days of horse-drawn carriages in cities. These 19th century streets were largely paved with bricks or cobble stone as opposed to today’s asphalt, and horse-drawn carriages would ride more smoothly with debris cleared away. That, and clearing away debris simply made an urban area more sanitary and nicer to look at, a similar service provided today. This service developed as cars and streets did, and today in the United States, it has grown to a robust size. Now, the industry for street sweeping machines generates roughly $283 million in revenue every single year, and these sweepers can remove nearly anything. Pollution in parking lots should be removed in particular, since damage from pollution in American parking lots today adds up to $4-20 billion due to health and environmental damage. That is quite a bit, so sweeper trucks are used to clear away anything that might make a parking lot dirty. This involves more than soda cans or twigs; much more harmful materials might be found and removed as well by these sweeper trucks.
The Hazards of Street Debris
Why is it so important for debris and liquids on streets, parking lots, and highways to be removed? One reason is simple appearance. A city may look very dirty and unkempt if a lot of debris is allowed to build up on surfaces where cars drive, and this may impact spending in the areas. Tourists and guests may be disgusted by all that trash and leave early, and refuse to spend money there. They may tell other people to avoid these dirty towns or cities as well. Similarly, a property such as an apartment or hotel needs to make a good impression on guests or renters, and that includes the exterior. Messes such as trash or graffiti will make a poor impression, and may often be associated with areas with high crime or poverty. This may quickly impact a hotel or apartment’s business in a big way.
Another reason to clear trash is for sanitation, and this arguably the main reason to use sweeper trucks today. Organic trash may rot and attract flies, disease, and scavengers such as opossums or raccoons, rats and more. This is a major sanitation issue and such animals may attack or bite people or pets and injure them or spread disease. The presence of such pests may make as bad an impression on an area as the trash itself. What is more, some street waste is pesticide runoff due to rain or other weather, and that can release harmful particles into the air. Pesticides and other harmful liquids can and must be cleaned up by street sweepers regularly to avoid harming people or wildlife in the area.
Street sweepers are also employed to remove solid debris, ranging from leftover timber to tree branches and pieces of metal. Cars or motorcycles may strike this debris and suffer damage to their tires or the underside of their vehicles, which is annoying and may necessitate expensive repairs.