That Burns My Biscuits!

Published 8:49 am Tuesday, March 3, 2020

By E.J. Smith

Well, well, well, will it never stop? I am talking about LITTER and the people who toss their trash out car windows, on the ground, and in their own front yards! What do we do about it? I read a letter to the editor in the Elizabethton Star in the February 22-23, 2020 issue from a concerned citizen complaining about the tiny town Butler, in Johnson County, being so filthy and why doesn’t someone do something about it? Butler is not in Carter County, but so close that we still need to be concerned about their litter problem as well. Seems to me that plenty is being done to clean our area up, it is stopping the atrocious habit of littering that needs to be  addressed.

Check the newspaper any week and you will see how Keep Carter County Beautiful works very hard to clean up  roadsides, river banks, and any popular place where folks gather outside, ie. Blue Hole. They have also cleaned up illegal dump sites in the county. I agree with Mr. Ed Jordan, who said in a December 18, 2019 Facebook post, “Knuckle Heads continue to trash and we continue to clean up their mess! Does this make sense?” We know it doesn’t, but what do we do next? For starters, read the post yourself to discover just how much effort, manpower and money is wasted on this most concerning issue that continues despite all efforts to eliminate it. If enough of us read it and spring into action, we can overcome this business of littering. 

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The woman who wrote the letter to the editor in February about the Butler area mentioned that she has been told there is a shortage of correction officers to supervise “jailbirds” cleaning up trash. Also, there are not enough deputies to enforce litter laws, and money is short for litter control. Sound familiar? Most every county I know of seems to have the same problems as these, yet there are people who clean, clean and clean some more without any money or recognition; they just want our area to stay as  beautiful as the Good Lord made it.

We do not need to leave everything up to the officials in this. We need to find ways to make people who litter realize just how important a litter free county is; its towns, parks, roadsides, mountains, swimming holes, and the many wonderful walking and biking trails all need to be kept pristine.

One idea would be for everyone who sees someone litter to report it and go to court to follow up on the complaint. I was told once by a deputy, (not in Carter County) in a sarcastic voice, that “you will have to show up in court!” OK, I can do that, can you? If it would make those litter bugs stop their nasty business, I’d show up every day! We can also be good examples when we dispose of trash in appropriate ways and when we pick up trash that has been thrown on the ground. I pick up trash frequently at the park where I walk my dog. I keep thinking that those who mess up our trail will get the message not to be so trashy, sooner than later, I hope.

As for those who let their homes and grounds pile up so the entire neighborhood is ugly, shame on you! Have some respect! Clean it up now!

So let’s get busy. Volunteer, if you’re able, to help with organized clean-ups. Report, testify and be a good example. No one wants to be called dumb hillbillies, but anyone who litters is just that! Dumb and dumber…

Do you have ideas on how to address the litter problem in our wonderful mountains? Please email me at You can also share your ideas with KCCB and local law enforcement.

You are in my prayers,