It's on the side of the scenic drive through Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It's in Reelfoot Lake. It's in the lawn of the capitol building in Nashville. It's on your grandmother's doorstep. Litter is everywhere across our state, and Tennesseans are fed up. When we asked what you thought about litter, you said, “It's got to stop.”
“Enough is ENOUGH.”
Why should you care about litter? Let us count the ways:
$11,000,000. Yes, you read those zeros right. That's $11 million tax payer dollars our state spends picking up the trash Tennesseans throw down on the ground. That doesn't even count what your city pays to pick up litter in the incorporated areas.
12,000,000 miles are driven each year picking up litter in our state. Think about all the gas that is needed to fuel trucks for litter pick up.
18% of all littered items end up in our streams and waterways as pollution. That means litter in our state travels to other states and eventually ends up in the ocean.
The new Tennessee Litter Law is designed to help reduce some of that trash. Smaller amounts of litter will be punished by a $50 fine, while larger fines are reserved for larger amounts. Offenders can mail in the payment to the county clerk or plead not guilty and face the officer in court. If the judge finds the offender guilty, the person must pay the $50 and court costs. It is hoped that this new law will encourage more enforcement, since the fines are more appropriate for the offenses, and in most cases the officer and the offender will not have to go to court.