We recently examined the far-reaching impact of mismanaged trash, an important issue on a global scale. But how does littering effect in a direct and local sense? Does mismanaged waste come into play in your day-to-day life, in the community in which you live, work and play? Unfortunately, yes.
Tennessee is home to more than 50,000 miles of rivers and streams and more than 500,000 acres of lakes and marshes. That’s a lot of water! Middle Tennessee itself proudly boasts the Cumberland and Harpeth Rivers along with Old Hickory Lake, Radnor Lake, Percy Priest Lake, Center Hill and countless other ponds and smaller waterways like creeks and drainage ditches.
Trash and the Great Outdoors
While Middle Tennessee is increasingly urbanized, one of its continued attractions is the expanses of wide-open spaces, farmland, ranches and rustic wooded areas. Tennessee is an outdoor lover’s dreamland, and it’s the duty of every resident and visitor to protect these great outdoors, including the waterways. After all, every scrap, every piece of plastic, the drainage ditch runoff… it all ends up somewhere. And oftentimes, it ends up in the waterways.
The soil in which your food is grown and the grasses on which livestock graze are impacted by the litter that lands in the waterway that irrigates them. The fish you love to catch? Those fish are affected by the runoff that flows into their streams, rivers and lakes. Every plastic piece of trash begins breaking down and leaching its chemical components into the very water in which you and your children and grandchildren are boating, skiing, fishing and swimming.
More than just being unsightly, mismanaged trash, whether deliberate litter or accidental (raccoons have a nasty habit of rummaging through unsecured garbage) can be hazardous. If you’ve ever been swimming in, strolling or biking along a body of water, you know how disgusting and discouraging it can be to see tires, trash, diapers and needles along the way. Pet waste, human waste and medical waste can cause injury and hazards.
What Can I Do?
If there is one thing Tennesseans know how to do, it’s volunteer and pitch in, working together to accomplish great things. When the flood of 2010 hit, when the tornado of 2020 touched down, Tennesseans rolled up their collective sleeves and helped clean up for friends and strangers alike. And we can do the same in the ongoing fight against litter.
There are numerous private and state organizations operating in the battle to keep Tennessee beautiful and reduce waste. Consider joining a clean-up project along a local waterway or adopt a stretch of highway to reduce roadside trash. There’s even a litter hotline: 1-877-8-LITTER (877-854-8837) or you can report seeing litter online here.
You can also be proactive against mismanaged trash by taking your trash with you when you’re out enjoying nature. At home, make sure your garbage is properly secured and utilize Envirobinz Trash Bin Cleaning Services to prevent trash bin waste from washing back into waterways and soil. This also substantially reduces the water used over cleaning your trash bin yourself. For more information, call Envirobinz at 615-368-3999 for a quote and to establish curb-side trash bin cleaning.