As part of the effort to Stop Litter in Tennessee, Governor Phil Bredesen and TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely have awarded $3-million 862-thousand 515 in litter grant funds to all 95 counties in Tennessee.
DeKalb County will receive a grant for $29,237 dollars.
"Each year volunteers pick up almost 25 million pounds of roadside litter in Tennessee alone," said Bredesen. "Litter is an eye-sore, it's costly to clean up and it can be harmful to our environment, but it's totally preventable. These funds will be used by counties across the state to organize their pick-up efforts and conduct educational campaigns to teach children and adults about the importance of keeping Tennessee beautiful."
County Mayor Mike Foster says litter grant funds are distributed annually by TDOT to all Tennessee counties for litter clean up and education. "It's a good grant and it's one we've been getting for a lot of years. A deputy takes a crew of inmates out to clean up areas of roads and if we have an illegal dump they clean that up. But primarily, they do routine patrols on roads where they pick up litter. About $4,000 of it is earmarked for litter prevention education in the school system and most of the garbage cans that you see at the fast food restaurants, we bought those out of that money. It's done to try to educate the public and encourage them not to litter on any highway. We also hope it helps show how important clean areas are, especially in high tourism counties like ours, and how good roads look when they're clean. We'll have some education programs in the schools. We have had contests encouraging students to write an essay on the importance of not littering. Sometimes we have poster contests but the idea is for them to get the message and take it home. Last year we bought a bunch of back packs, rulers, and other things that have anti-litter messages on them."
"TDOT awards approximately $3 million each year to help local communities in their efforts to stop litter in Tennessee," said Nicely. "These funds are obtained through the collection of a specialty tax on the malt beverage and soft drink industry through the Litter Grant Bill which was enacted by the General Assembly in 1981 and are put to use by local communities to prevent litter through education and clean-up activities."
The funds that each county receives are determined by county road miles and county population in order to ensure an equitable distribution statewide. Funds must be used for litter pick-up activities and litter prevention education. Education funding can be used in a variety of ways, such as sharing litter control awareness with schools, citizens and businesses.
Through the litter pick-up program, approximately 25.5 million pounds of roadside litter were picked up on approximately 292,000 miles of county roads, and approximately 45,000 miles of state routes. Of the trash collected by volunteers, approximately 7.4 million pounds is recycled.