People from all over the country will be visiting our area next week for the big race at Bristol Motor Speedway. We are sure the natural beauty of the region will impress them. We are also sure they will be taken aback by the litter they will see by the side of our local highways.
It costs taxpayers in Tennessee more than $11 million a year to clean up litter along the roads. Plastic drink cups, beer bottles and construction debris strewn by the roadside do not present a favorable first impression of our state to visitors.
Johnson City has a crew that regularly picks up garbage left by the side of the interstate. Even so, the work keeps piling up. In the battle against litter, the litterbugs are winning.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation asks that motorists call their litter hotline if they see someone tossing trash out a car window or dumping their loads as they travel. Simply take down the license plate number and call 877-8-LITTER.
Here are a few other ways you can help preserve and protect the natural beauty of the region:
n Plant a tree. Although Tennessee officially celebrates Arbor Day in March, there are other good months to plant a tree. To learn more, go online to www.arborday.org.
n Participate in litter cleanup and beautification projects in your community. Neighborhood associations in Johnson City often sponsor litter and household hazardous waste cleanup days. Get involved in these programs. It’s also a good idea to participate in local recycling programs that benefit the environment every day of the year.
n Adopt a particular spot for be beautification. Keep Johnson City Beautiful has a program that allows churches, civic clubs and individuals to adopt a street or spot for year-round beautification. Call Eva Hunter, the city’s recycling marketing coordinator, at 979-6318 for more information.