This is a busy travel weekend, which means there will be a lot of holiday motorists passing through our area. 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.
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:
Become one of the thousands of volunteers who maintain and improve the Appalachian Trail, a public resource that is enjoyed by more than 4 million hikers each year. It is volunteers who largely maintain the 2,175-mile-long footpath along the crest of the Appalachian Mountains through 14 states from Maine to Georgia. To learn more about becoming a trail volunteer, visit www.appalachiantrail.org.
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.
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.
Adopt a particular spot for be beautification. Keep Washington County Beautiful has a program that allows churches, civic clubs and individuals to adopt a street or spot for year-round beautification.