Flood and Litter

Jul 17 at 1:17pm - mkamplain
Our County
D. Gary Davis
County Mayor

This past weekend we experienced a flash flood in our community. We were not expecting an emergency and we, as individuals, were not prepared for it. Thankfully our emergency responders were prepared and were able to once again, as Elvis would say, "Take care of business, in a flash” flood. The seamless cooperation of services is something that we all tend to take for granted. We are truly blessed as when talking with neighboring communities and states, the response time, service done nor the coordination of multiple agencies and professionals needed are areas that I get asked about on a regular basis. This process of teamwork is not only needed, it is readily evident each and every time that our communities first responders, medical professionals, law enforcement officers, public service, dispatch, 911 and all of the professionals needed to make this machine function and function flawlessly.

The remnants of this recent flooding took a while to remove and repair. This is a normal process. This past week I also received a memorandum from the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation’s launch of a new litter prevention campaign. It is one thing to have litter strewn around due to an uncontrollable event of nature that takes objects and trash to new locations across our community. This is quickly and thankfully removed by many across our community. But the voluntary, intentional and uncaring process of trashing our own community and state are attempting to be addressed by a new and multiphase approach of message communication.

Many may remember the Native American seen numerous times on a Saturday morning in-between 1970’s era cartoons with a tear streaming down his face at the sight of people littering. Those who may be a little younger may remember the Chevrolet Corvair (and the later Chevrolet Malibu) being driven down a Tennessee road with the unmistakable County tune stating "There ain’t no lower class than Tennessee trash” playing in the background. Since then the "Litter, Stop IT” have also been tried. Starting on June 15, 2017 the new litter prevention campaign of "Nobody Trashes Tennessee” will launch. Billboards, commercials, educational programs and anti-litter promotional items will be part of a multifaceted approach. A new website of information and ways of prevention will be visible at www.nobodytrashestn.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will be accessible by using #nobodytrashestn in individual posts.

After extensive research it was found that while littering is occurring less, it is still a big problem. Research revealed that 30 percent of the state’s litter is deliberate-meaning trash is tossed right out of vehicle windows. 70 percent of trash is considered negligent litter, which includes debris and trash flying out of uncovered pickup truck beds. "From the Great Smokey Mountain region, to the Mississippi River and every stretch of roadway in between, litter on our highways takes away from Tennessee’s natural beauty,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. "It is not only an eyesore, but it costs TDOT more than $15 million a year to clean up.”

With 1,001 Tennesseans being surveyed (508 by phone/493 by web) it was found that the primary audience of this campaign will be identified as women in the 16-34 age group, with 71% of them describing themselves as litterers. This was higher than any other gender or age group. The good news from this research panel was also that 9 out of 10 Tennesseans said that once being aware of the litter problem (and the cost) they are willing to properly dispose of their trash.

The ability to plan for the unexpected is just one of the things that our local responders do extremely well. The ability to care about our community is something that we must ALL be involved in to continue to be successful. Thank you to each and every one who takes the time, the initiative and the extra work necessary to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem. This continuing effort is what sets us apart and makes Bradley County, Tennessee at its best!

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