Keep Tennessee Beautiful month: how you can make a difference

Keep Bristol Beautiful annual summer's end Holston River cleanup, pulls unbelievable items from the water.

March is Keep Tennessee Beautiful month and those who work to keep it beautiful call litter not only unsightly but dangerous. They stress that even the small steps in litter control can make a big difference.

"Our mission is to educate and inspire people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environments," says executive director of Keep Tennessee Beautiful Missy Marshall.

Marshall says there are plenty of ways for you to get involved right here at home.

"Coordinating or participating in a roadside cleanup, a lake cleanup, a under-served area that maybe needs some improvements," Marshall says.

The state will also promote The Great America Cleanup in Tennessee this month.

"During this time, it's just to raise awareness to instill that sense of community pride to encourage people to take action," Marshall says.

Taking action also means understanding the size of the problem. The Tennessee department of transportation counts litter along roadsides, and the total is shocking.

"At any one time we have more than 100-million pieces of litter on our roadsides. We pick up large items folks have dumped...mattresses, and furniture and appliances, all the way down to unintentional things like pieces of cars and tires and then fast food containers, all kinds of paper," says TDOT Beautification Manager Shawn Bible.

And isn't just an eye sore, it's also a safety hazard to you and your family.

"It's incredibly dangerous. It's dangerous for our mowers that hit items and then it flings those items out. It's dangerous for cars that hit that kind of litter. Litter can blow up and block your view when you're driving," Bible says.

Preventing these harmful situations is easy.

"Something as little as carrying a litter bag in your car and leaving it and driving it home and discarding it properly makes a huge difference," Marshall says.

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