“Adopt-a-Highway” signs are everywhere. But what does it really mean? How do you adopt a highway, and who benefits from it?
Throughout the United States, nearly 10% of the nation’s highways are adopted. This results in over $200 million in cost savings for the federal government. The programs roots stem from a group of individuals in Texas in the early 1980’s who wanted to find a way to help keep their state clean and engage with the community. What started as a corporate marketing strategy has now turned into much more. Everyone from the Girl Scouts of America to local small businesses are helping to do their part in keeping our highways litter-free.
In Davidson county alone, volunteers along with the Public Works department cleared 196 miles of highway of 33 TONS of litter. At roughly 115 bags per ton, 3,450 total bags of trash were removed in just the month of May. As the population continues to grow, the problem continues to worsen. Tax dollars are being used for this unnecessary expense when it could be avoided altogether.
What can you do to help?
First and foremost, don’t litter! The best way to resolve a problem is at its source. Educate those you know who do litter by explaining the effect it has on the environment, taxpayer dollars, and the community. No one likes driving through a city for the first time and seeing the roads littered with trash. If you’re stopped at a gas pump and see something on the ground, pick it up. Everyone has to do their part in an attempt to stop the problem at its source. The less the Nashville government has to put towards trash removal, the more they can put towards fixing those potholes and helping our cities homeless.
The state of Tennessee is making a big push with their new initiative “Nobody Trashes Tennessee.” They have resources for you to start a cleanup group or to join an existing one. In addition, they have a litter hotline that you can call into if you see a car littering. If you can catch the license plate, the state will send the registered owner a friendly reminder on the negative effects of littering and a warning of the potential fines associated.
Business and government groups alike are always looking for hands to join their cause. If you like the water, join the Cumberland River Compact and do your part in helping keep the river clean. You’d be surprised at the amount of trash littering our river banks. If you’re part of an organization or a business, large or small, get together a group and adopt a stretch of highway near your location. Anyone can do it, and the time commitment is less and a few hours every 3 months.
Join the movement in keeping our beautiful state of Tennessee litter free today!