Trash and Treasure

Trash is the problem, and our Tennessee waters are the treasure.

According to Nobody Trashes Tennessee (a TDOT program), there are over 100 million pieces of trash along our roads.

Imagine how much is in our waters.

In a typical stream or lake cleanup, you find everything: drug needles, paint cans, tires, mattresses, and a bounty of disposable drink containers!

Local and state governments, Keep Tennessee Beautiful, Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful, and many other groups remove both the terra-litter and aqua-trash.

Look at the before-and-after pictures from a single volunteer on a single day from the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance.

But “enough trash talk!” – Tennessee Cleaner Landscapes for the Economy, Agriculture, and Nature (CLEAN) Act

You may not know it, but many concerned Tennesseans have been working tirelessly for years to find a solution to the growing litter problem and its impact on water pollution, including metals and microplastics. The result of that tireless effort is new legislation being considered by our General Assembly this session.

The Tennessee CLEAN Act (HB0174/SB0152) is not a fix-all solution, because there is no one solution to the array of litter problems Tennessee faces. But it creates a foundation for the future with a 13-person commission that seeks to expand programs that work, pursue new ideas, and meet realistic short-term goals. Please tell your state senator and representatives that you support the Tennessee CLEAN Act.

We will still need the litter cleanups, though, and we still need you! We need your time, your energy, and your ideas. Take the initiative in your own neighborhood. Find your local watershed group. Spread the word about programs like Adopt-a-Stream, which are typically managed locally and always in need of volunteers. Stay up to date with TCWN’s Events page.

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