Keep Cocke County Beautiful board members recently completed their 2017 litter index assessment of our county. To complete a litter index, a minimum of five areas must be selected and a mile stretch of ten roads must be driven. Keep Cocke County Beautiful board members divided the county into seven areas and selected ten roads in each area. Litter is indexed on a scale of 1-4 with a 1 representing minimal or no litter, a 2 representing slightly littered, a 3 representing littered, and a 4 signifying extremely littered. It is difficult to ascertain between a 3 and a 4, but the major difference is that an area that is extremely littered has a continuous amount of litter where a strong organized effort for removal which may even require equipment for removal. A group of four board members were present to score each road. These scores are then averaged together to provide a holistic score of the road itself. The following charts represent an average score of each road.
Del Rio Parrottsville Bybee
|Blue Mill||2.25||Salem||1.25||Fowler’s Grove||3|
|Midway||2.75||B&S Storage Rd and East/West Dr.||1.5||Joe Reed||1.5|
|Punkton||2||Old Parrottsville Highway||1.5||Bybee||2.25|
|Dry Fork||2||Scott Pond||2||Airport||3|
|Odyssey||1.25||Long Creek||1.5||Bear Creek||3.25|
|Timber Ridge||1.75||Luther Memorial||2.25||Glendale||1.625|
Grassy Fork/Hartford Cosby Carson Springs
|Big Creek||1.25||Dark Hollow||2.25||Clevenger Cutoff||3|
|Cabbage County||1.25||321 S (Cosby Highway)||2.75||New 411||3.5|
|Halls Top||2||Greasy Cove||2||Carson Springs||3.25|
|Old 15th (Valley View end)||2||Padgett Mill||1.5||Raines||3|
|Mill Creek||3||Orchard||1||New Cave Church||2.25|
|Hartford||1.5||Lower Bogard||1.25||Old 411||3|
|Greasy Cove||2.25||McGaha Chapel||3||Upper Rinehart||3|
|Road||Average||So … from where does all this trash come? Much of the trash that was noticed alongside the roads were fast food bags, cups, and containers along with beverage cans and bottles. Areas were more heavily littered around convenience centers due to trash flying out of uncovered vehicles.
So…what can we do about it? Accidental litter occurs when objects unknowingly fly out of a vehicle. Incidental littering is a habit. People litter for various reasons. The main reason is people feel no sense of pride or ownership for that area; thus, it doesn’t bother them to throw their trash down. Secondly, people are also more inclined to litter when they already see litter in an area. Thirdly, people litter because they know that someone else will clean it up. Many have the mentality that as long as they don’t get caught doing it … oh well!
Optional index scoring sheets were also completed that included sighting illegal signage or signs lying down, abandoned/junk vehicles, outdoor/storage issues, and graffiti. There were several instances across the county of illegal signage or signs lying down. Graffitti was not very prevalent; however, some graffiti was noticed on bridges and overpasses. There were many sightings of abandoned and/or junk vehicles and outside storage issues throughout the county. We also happened upon several illegal dumpsites.
We live in, what I believe, is one of the most beautiful parts of the country. We have beautiful majestic mountains which paint a breathtaking backdrop to gentle rolling hills and pasture fields. Our local water ways meander peacefully throughout our county while sloping out magnificent cascades and waterfalls. What is there not to love and be proud of? Born and raised in Cocke County, I am proud to be from such a place with such gorgeous scenery. I am proud to call these people my family. But I’m not proud of the litter scattered along the roadsides. Let’s show some pride in our county. Let’s clean up this mess and work hard to not let litter happen. Keep Cocke County beautiful!
|Old Knoxville Highway||2.25|
|Old Asheville Highway||3|