TENNESSEE, USA — 51 volunteers removed over 15,355lbs. (7.5 tons) of trash during the 'Cherokee National Forest River Cleanup Series'.
According to Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful, the total weight of litter removed is equivalent to 21 bull elk.
The cleanups took place at four sites throughout the month of February.
The results for each site were:
- February 6: Watauga Lake of the Watauga River in Elizabethton: 3,202 lbs.
- February 13: South Holston Lake of the Holston River Abingdon in Virginia: 5,294 lbs.
- February 20: Tellico Lake of the Tellico River in Vonore: 4,852 lbs.
- February 27: Parksville Lake of the Ocoee River in Benton: 2,007 lbs.
Officials said that 318 bags of trash, 148 tires, 1,433 lbs. of styrofoam, 215 lbs. of random plastic, and 303 lbs. of scrap metal were removed as well.
Cherokee National Forest River Cleanup Series
Kathleen Gibi, Director at KTNRB, said the organization was hoping to meet the record it had set in 2019 with over 48,000lbs.of trash removed.
By the end of 2020, over 300 volunteers removed more than 61,000lbs. of litter from the Tennessee River and its tributaries.
Gibi said that the litter collected in 2020 was a 22% increase from their previous 2019 record that they set the year they first put their workboat in the water.
Since 2016, KTNRB has rallied 1,750 volunteers to remove approximately 198,000lbs. of trash.
The cleanup series received funding through the Volkswagen Community Grant Program by Volkswagen of America, Inc., administered by The Conservation Fund.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Keep America Beautiful, and Keep Tennessee Beautiful supported the cleanup series.
KTNRB plans to host the second Cherokee National Forest River Cleanup Series in 2022.
They are also working on plans to reschedule a second cleanup on the Ocoee River that they had to cancel in February due to weather.
For more information visit www.KeepTNRiverBeautiful.org/upcomingcleanups.