4,026 Pounds

By: Claire Tribble

An overwhelming 4,026 pounds! That’s how much litter Athens-Limestone Beautiful’s AMAZING volunteers have removed from Limestone County roadsides and waterways in the past TWO weeks alone. That’s just over TWO tons in TWO weeks. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a Toyota Tacoma truck weighs 4,040 pounds. We almost picked up an entire truck!

To kick off this unintentional two-week Trash-A-Thon, the Athens Renaissance Middle School decided to participate in our Adopt-A-Spot program. They worked in 3 different groups to pick up 2 different locations. The first location was Lawson Street, off Forest Street by the old Athens Middle School track. This stretch was a tree line that was about a block long. This group of eight kids, led by their teacher Joseph Illg, worked extremely hard to fill 14 bags of debris. They also pulled three tires, scrap metal and old toys. These weigh an average of 20 pounds each, making that around a 400-pound cleanup with the tires added in. That was a one block span.

The next cleanup was another group of students from Athens Renaissance School. This group of 7 students was again led by their teacher Joseph Illg. They chose the empty lot at the corner of Lee Street and Marion Street (between Whitt’s BBQ and The United Way. This group of kids pulled a LOAD out of the wooded area. They filled 14 bags, pulled old duct work out, and an old, HEAVY (trust me, I had to load it) conveyor belt. Their haul was quite impressive. Especially for about an hour and a half.

Next up was the Ardmore Spring Clean hosted by United Pest and Turf Control. This annual clean-up is always so well organized and attended. They had over 50 volunteers show up to cover the streets of Ardmore. These wonderful volunteers worked hard in the cold wind to collect 1,380 pounds of litter. They had volunteers of all ages come out and work to keep Ardmore looking its best!

The next week, we had the Mayor’s Youth Commission Cleanup. These fantastic kids gathered with Mayor Marks, Holly Hollman, Kim Glaze, Athens City Councilwoman Dana Henry, and more to clean up Stewart Drive behind Roselawn Cemetery. In an hour, they filled 17 bags. These bags were mainly filled with artificial flowers, mini liquor bottles, and fast-food wrappers. They did this in ONE HOUR!

Then we had the last class from Athens Renaissance School. They were led by their teacher, Jennifer Leake. They also worked on the lot at Lee and Marion Street. They found two more abandoned homeless camps and cleaned them up. They also worked in the grass and gravel to pick up some of the trash that had escaped dumpsters. They filled 13 bags here — so that’s 27 bags (plus the duct work and conveyor belt) from this one lot in the middle of town.

We finished the marathon with the TVA Trash Attack at the Tennessee River. We focused on the Cowford Campground and Dairy Road. We were a small group, but we picked up 1,400 pounds this year. That is quite an impressive number since we picked up almost 8,000 pounds there last year. District 3 County Commissioner Derrick Gatlin and his crew ran the roads picking up our bags as we filled them, which was a wonderful help to us. It not only made our job easier, but it also kept the trash from being strewn about before Monday.

By: Claire Tribble

Executive Director, Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful