TDOT Aims to Raise Awareness of Connection between Roadside Litter and Ocean Health
The Tennessee Department of Transportation is celebrating World Ocean Day on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 by sponsoring a Chattanooga Lookouts baseball game and partnering with the Tennessee Aquarium. World Ocean Day is a global celebration designed to inspire appreciation and action for the sustainable management of the ocean and protection of marine life.
Both events are funded by a grant supporting “Nobody Trashes Tennessee,” a litter reduction campaign that aims to educate Tennesseans about litter and remove the over 100 million pieces of litter currently on Tennessee roadways. Litter in Tennessee costs $19 million of Tennessee taxpayer money to clean up each year.
Car litter bags will be offered at the June 8 baseball game to encourage and remind fans to dispose of litter properly, which is a primary goal of the Nobody Trashes Tennessee campaign. The game starts at 7:15 p.m. EDT, so fans will want to arrive early to receive a car litter bag and to support the Lookouts.
The Tennessee Aquarium is featuring two new exhibits that help guests visualize how microplastics and litter affect rivers, lakes and streams. These exhibits display actual debris from the Tennessee River and show the connection between roadside litter, water quality and aquatic ecosystems. The aquarium exhibits, located in the River Journey building, are touchless and include videos that illustrate how trash can negatively impact water quality, which is vital to healthy communities and aquatic animals.
Roadside litter not only negatively impacts the local environment, but also has the potential to be washed into the state’s rivers and streams, where it eventually flows into the ocean.
“While geographically distant from a coastline, inland residents in Chattanooga and across Tennessee are directly linked to the ocean by the rivers that flow through, and border, the Volunteer State,” said Jeff Worley, Manager of Exhibit Services, Tennessee Aquarium.
The 652-mile long Tennessee River, which flows past the aquarium and AT&T Field, is one of America’s most biologically diverse rivers, provides abundant recreational opportunities and serves as a vital source of drinking water for many Tennesseans.
To learn more about Nobody Trashes Tennessee, visit www.nobodytrashestennessee.com.