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State wildlife group seeking local litter photos

STAFF REPORT • May 28, 2019 at 10:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — The Tennessee Wildlife Federation wants litter photos to help spread awareness about the problem.

Whether the litter is in a forest, on a lake, along a river or by a road, send the federation your snapshots of the cans, bottles and outright trash that make our great outdoors a little less great.

To submit your photos and help raise awareness about Tennessee’s litter problem, visit tnwf.org/litter.

“With the unofficial start of summer, we want Tennesseans to take and share photos of all the litter they see when they are outdoors,” said Mike Butler, CEO of Tennessee Wildlife Federation. “Litter is such a big and old problem that we’ve all become blind to how much of it there is in our lives every day.”

Litter is more than an eyesore. It has real, measurable effects on Tennesseans and the state’s wildlife, water, and wild places.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation estimates there are 100 million pieces of litter on the state’s roads at any given moment and that 18 percent of it will end up in waterways. The Tennessee Valley Authority removed 230 tons of trash from the Tennessee River in 2018.

Studies regularly uncover new impacts of litter on wildlife and habitats. For example, trash that sinks in water — glass, cans, and heavier plastics, such as those used for drink bottles — foul the beds of our lakes and rivers, potentially impacting important habitat for native fish.

Litter costs Tennesseans millions of dollars each year to clean up and costs others even more. Farmers suffer an estimated loss of $60 million a year, and litter stunts the outdoor industry, which generates $21.6 billion in economic activity for the state.

“We must make ourselves see the extent of the problem — for the economy and the environment — that’s in front of us every day. Until we do, it’s not likely we’ll get serious about finding an effective solution,” said Butler.

Go to tnwf.org/litter and share your photos. And then please pick up the trash.

The Tennessee Wildlife Federation leads the conservation, sound management and wise use of the Volunteer State’s great outdoors.

Since 1946, the federation has spearheaded the development of the state’s wildlife policy, advanced landmark legislation on air and water quality and other conservation initiatives, helped restore numerous species, and introduced thousands of kids to the great outdoors.

To learn more, visit tnwf.org.

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