Let’s face it, trash is something most folks just don’t want to touch but we do — every day. Sometimes that contact comes en-route to a garbage can. Other times it comes picking up all the stuff that never makes it in…hundreds of thousand of pounds of Tennessee trash. Tiny bits of unwanted stuff tossed on the ground or out a window might not seem like much. But gather it all into a single location and you have the makings of a big mess. Wild Side Guide Annette Nole Hall takes us to Percy Priest Lake with a team of volunteers who found more than a few reasons why”We have met the enemy and he is us.”
When it was all said and done, the 7th Nashville Clean Water project at Percy Priest Lake ended up with 275 volunteers working in 25 different locations. And with the exception of a little boat fuel, snacks and water there was very little cost to get it done. Rivers Bend Island was the benchmark. Organizers decided if they could get it cleaned up, then the entire project would be a success.
In addition to being an eyesore, trash has potentially lethal effects on wildlife. Something as simple as a cigarette butt, for example, can be mistaken for food by wild animals, exposing them to hazardous compounds such as cadmium, arsenic, lead and nicotine…or it could block their digestive tract and cause the animals to become ill or starve.
Visit the Nashville Clean Water Project website at www.cleanpercypriest.org/ to learn more about the project and how you can get involved. Of course the simplest way to help is to make sure the trash goes where it belongs…if it’s not thrown down, it won’t need to be picked up. To find out more about the effects and cost of litter in Tennessee and report someone who is littering, visit http://www.stoplitter.org/ or http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/environment/beautification/litter.asp