Worrisome milestone on the Tennessee River

Jay FitzOur Town Outdoors

Applause is certainly in order for the people doing this hard, grungy work. But it’s sad that the work is even necessary.

Over 500 volunteers have helped Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful remove more than 100,000 pounds of trash from the Tennessee River and its tributaries this year in the group’s “125,000 Lb. Goal for 2021 River Cleanups presented by YETI.”

Based off of weight totals, KTNRB has been tallying throughout the year, Executive Director Kathleen Gibi estimates that throwaway drink containers make up at least 32,000 pounds from the 2,273 bags of trash that the volunteers have collected so far this year. The river group surpassed 100,000 pounds in 2021 at a cleanup held in Talbott, Tennessee, on Tuesday, Sept. 29. They reached the milestone just in time for the launch of the month-long tour of cleanups in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky in celebration of October being declared “Keep the Tennessee River Watershed Beautiful Month.”

KTNRB is partnering once again with Living Lands & Waters, a national nonprofit that helps clean North American rivers and brings their five 30-foot aluminum boats to cleanups, adding to KTNRB’s boat so that even more volunteers can participate.

The cleanups during KTRWB Month are:

  • Friday, Oct. 1, Scottsboro, AL – Guntersville Lake
  • Saturday, Oct. 2, Ten Mile, TN – Watts Bar Lake
  • Friday, Oct. 15, Iuka, MS/Hardin, TN – Pickwick Lake
  • Saturday, Oct. 16, Hardin, KY – Kentucky Lake

KTNRB will hold more cleanups with its individual boat throughout October. Volunteers may register for any cleanup here.

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