DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -On Saturday, February 16, 2019, Tennessee Riverkeeper staff and volunteers will conduct a litter cleanup along the banks of Dry Branch Creek near the Tennessee River in Decatur, Alabama.

This cleanup is organized by David Whiteside and Pat Underwood of Decatur, Alabama on behalf of nonprofit Tennessee Riverkeeper.

Volunteers collected 1,700 pounds of litter from Riverkeeper’s Decatur cleanup in January, from one side of Dry Branch Creek.

The cleanup in February will focus on the other side of the creek.

There is so much litter it will take two cleanups to gather and properly dispose of all this waste.

The cleanup will occur from 10:00AM to 3:00PM.

Volunteers should wear warm clothes that can get dirty. We will meet at the corner of Davis Street NW and Washington Street NW. Gloves, trash bags, and litter grabbers will be provided.

David Whiteside, Founder of Tennessee Riverkeeper said, “It’s easy to get depressed about pollution and trash in our public waterways. These events show that a few people can make a difference, and cleanups provide some hope for hundreds of thousands of citizens who are concerned about our blessed river and its tributaries. Clean water is a nonpartisan issue; we are all in this together.”

In 2019, Tennessee Riverkeeper launched a microplastics campaign to remove plastic and other litter from waterways, while educating the public about this pollution threat.

“Scientists have found that the Tennessee River is polluted by as many as 16,000 to 18,000 microplastic particles per cubic meter. This pollution occurs when larger plastics breakdown over time. Experts think that they can last for hundreds of years, and toxicity can ‘biomagnify’ as microplastics build up in the food chain” said David Whiteside, Founder of Tennessee Riverkeeper.

“There is no easy solution to this problem. We do know that preventing plastics from entering waterways is an obvious solution and it is easier to remove garbage from the shorelines and shallow water of creeks and rivers. It is very difficult and inefficient to try to remove litter from deeper water. Another important solution is education and informing citizens that littering not only makes our community look trashy, it also impairs fishing and water quality,” added Whiteside.

David Whiteside added, “Other forms of litter can be toxic too. Tires can contain: benzene, mercury, styrene-butadiene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and arsenic, as well as several other chemicals, heavy metals and carcinogens.”

Tennessee Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization, founded in September 2009. The mission on Tennessee Riverkeeper is to protect the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers and the tributaries by enforcing environmental laws and educating the public. The organization was founded by David Whiteside.

Copyright 2019 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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