Volunteers Remove More Than 9,200 Pounds Of Trash From Tennessee River In Three Days

The not-for-profit organization Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful (KTTRB) removed 9,208 pounds of trash from the river in a three-day January cleanup in partnership with Johnsonville State Historic Park.

Twenty-five volunteers loaded into the organization’s 25-foot aluminum work boat to clean nearby shorelines January 8-10.

“The really exciting thing about the cleanups in this new area of focus for our organization is that you see momentum building with our partners and volunteers from the time we held a cleanup in October to this past weekend,” KTNRB Executive Director Kathleen Gibi said.

Gibi said the volunteer turnout for the public cleanup more than tripled this time around compared to KTTRB’s October visit, and that three river miles were adopted by volunteers who wanted to keep up the work on their own following the weekend cleanup.

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“That’s how the change for our river will happen: through local partners and individuals who are eager about taking ownership to protect and improve their beautiful river community,” Gibi said. “It’s been truly inspiring for us to see these change makers take action, especially with the local leadership from Johnsonville State Historic Park.”

The three days of cleanups included efforts with the Chemours company staff, resulting in 2,011 pounds of waste removal, with Humphreys County 4H Club resulting in 1,819 pounds of waste removal and a cleanup open to the public that removed 5,378 pounds of waste. The cleanup KTTRB hosted with the state park in October included a partnership with the national nonprofit organization Living Lands  & Waters, which brough along their five, 30-foot work boats for transporting volunteers and litter. Volunteers removed 4,811 pounds of trash in October. Combined with the January cleanups, that made for a total of 14,019 pounds of trashed removed from the same area within four months.

“On the banks of the Tennessee River, agriculture, industrial growth, fishing, Civil War battles and much more have shaped the culture of Humphreys County,” Ranger Noah Sinz of Johnsonville State Historic Park said. “Cleanup projects like this past weekend help us to preserve those cultural resources, as well as the natural resource of the Tennessee River for many years to come.

“We are so thankful for Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful, the local community partners, as well as the public volunteers who took time to make a difference and remove this amazing amount of litter from our banks of the Kentucky Lake Reservoir,” Sinz continued. “We hope that these numbers help to show just how much waste ends up in our waterways, and with that, open eyes to how we can prevent it from continuing in the future.”