The recent heavy rains brought a widespread problem bobbing to the surface: litter.
The recent heavy rains brought a widespread problem bobbing to the surface — litter.
The Bradley County Commission discussed litter during a recent work session, with several asking how to address it.
Launching the discussion was former county commissioner Ed Elkins, who said Bradley County "has an awful litter problem."
Elkins said the answer to the problem may not be in picking up litter, but in getting people to stop littering in the first place.
He said there are anti-litter campaigns in schools, but something is not working because of the increase he’s seen in trash tossed on the roadsides throughout the community.
"I don't have an answer, but I think we need to renew our effort to educate …" he said.
Chairman Johnny Mull agreed. With the heavy rain, he has seen the amount of litter seem to increase, as trash is washed out of ditches and into view, he added.
"It is a problem," he said.
Commissioner Milan Blake mentioned seeing a gallon bleach bottle floating in an area of standing water near downtown.
"We spend a lot of money on the education part," he said.
Blake added he appreciates County Commissioner Tim Mason, who is environmental codes enforcement officer for the BCSO and Tennessee Department of Transportation litter coordinator with the BCSO. Blake thanked Mason for his work and the work of the litter pick-up crews.
Commissioner Charlotte Peak also offered kudos to Mason "because he goes in the city and the county" to pick up litter. She asked if there are any grants for billboards to educate the public on littering.
Mason said the BCSO’s litter grant is $65,000 and $20,000 is spent on education, including newspaper and billboard advertisements.
Mason added he will write a citation to anyone he sees littering.
"We will fine you, if we catch you," he said.
Commissioner Howard Thompson also complimented Mason, noting crews pick up litter on Highway 64, a state route.
Thompson said he hires someone to clean up his business driveway, adding, "There's a problem with garbage."
"I think Bradley County has been more litter free in the past four years than it has ever been," Peak said.
Commissioner Dennis Epperson said he appreciated Mason and Commissioner Mike Hughes for dealing with litter. Epperson added he has heard from residents around the Bradley County Landfill that tarps are not being used to cover all loads going to the landfill. They need to work on education.
Mason said he has two trucks, two trailers and six inmates on the litter detail, but with this weather, they are not sending inmates out to pick up.
Sheriff Steve Lawson said he believes litter education starts in schools, adding his article two weeks ago in the Cleveland Daily Banner was about litter.
One recent morning he spotted several areas of litter, and passed it along to deputies to arrange pickup.
"It's come to the point a lot of people don't have any respect," he said of why littering seems to have increased.
Lawson added if he sees someone litter, he'll give them a ticket.
"We're on top of it as much as we can be," Lawson said.
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