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Pickin' Up Tennessee combines music and litter effort

5:09 PM, Jul 15, 2013   |    comments
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Here's a number for you: 23 million pounds. That's how much litter TDOT says is picked up along Tennessee roadways each year.

One Tennessee man is helping in a small way and a big way.

"I see it walking, I see it riding public transit," Eric McAnly said.

He sees litter.

"If I know there's a trash bag or a trash can nearby then I'll pick it up but I'm not going to put it in my pocket," he said.

On a recent day off from work, Eric McAnly brought his own bag because he was making a point to clean up litter at bus stops in Knoxville.

He's disappointed that a lot of the litter could have been recycled instead of tossed on the ground.

"It's very prevalent. If you just look outside if you're just aware you'll see the trash," he said.

His litter activism extends to an environmental group at the University of Tennessee called SPEAK (Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville). That's where he connected with the leader of a state environmental group called Scenic Tennessee.

"Something in the conversation sparked this Pickin' Up Tennessee kind of a mixture of music from Tennessee is kind of something Tennessee is known for and known for the beautiful vistas and mountain views. But then also known for some litter," he said.

That conversation developed into a video outreach program for Scenic Tennessee. It won a $100,000 grant from TDOT to fund the litter campaign. Twenty videos will be posted on YouTube and the Pickin' Up Tennessee website.

"We need to do some things to protect our environment. The environment sustains us and oftentimes we don't treat it very well," Eric said.

He's treating it well with his personal littler pick up efforts along Kingston Pike and across the city.

Eric McAnly hopes others will pitch in to pick up, Pickin' Up Tennessee.

"If you want to do your part you can adopt areas but not only that, it's really a daily habit people need to create. We shouldn't have to adopt something. This is something that we should just be practicing," he said.

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