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Nonprofit plans to remove 125,000 lbs. of trash from Tennessee River

Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful has collected 80,000 lbs. of trash from the water.
Credit: KTNRB

TENNESSEE, USA — A Knoxville-based nonprofit, Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful (KTNRB), has expanded its goal to collect 125,000 lbs. of trash from the Tennessee River.

So far dedicated volunteers have removed a whopping 80,000 lbs. of trash from the Tennessee River watershed in 2021. They also recovered 27,272 lbs. of disposable drink containers.

Officials said that YETI is the title sponsor for KTNRB and committed $10,000 to support the organization's new goal.

“We’re proud to support the incredibly important work that the KTNRB team is doing and hope these efforts ensure future generations can continue to appreciate and enjoy the Tennessee River for years to come,” said Jennifer Silberman, Vice President of ESG at YETI. 

Credit: KTNRB

“The litter pulled at our river cleanups is a visual call to make a change in how we as Americans consume our beverages,” said Kathleen Gibi, KTNRB Executive Director.'

In the most recent river cleaning that happened on June 26, KTNRB volunteers filled almost 2,000 bags of waste, and Gibi estimates that 70% of those bag's contents were also disposable drink containers.

In a study published in 2019 by German scientist Dr. Andreas Fath, it was revealed that the Tennessee River is the world's most microplastic-polluted river studied to date.

KTNRB has hosted cleanups since 2016 and was the first affiliate of Keep America Beautiful to limit its cleanup activities to rivers only. Multiple river cleanups happen each year, and volunteers travel in 26-foot aluminum workboats cleaning alongside the shorelines. 

The next cleanup in Knoxville is scheduled for July 31. Click here for more information.

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