Study reveals decrease in litter in most voting districts

Published 3:36 pm Thursday, November 12, 2020

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CONTRIBUTED — According to a release received on Thursday, Nov. 12, from Keep Carter County Beautiful the recent Litter Index Study revealed a decrease in litter across six of the eight voting districts of Carter County.
The findings are based on surveys conducted by KCCB volunteers in 2020 and show an average decline of 17.6 percent over 2019 in the six districts where improvement was measured. In one district, the score stayed the same. Only one district showed a slight increase.
“Good improvement was made compared to 2018/2019 trash and litter issues,” said Ed Jordan, KCCB founder and president. “We are moving in the right direction, but as you know we have a long way to go.”
The annual study is a requirement of Keep America Beautiful affiliates.
The districts that showed improvement were voting districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7. No change in the Litter Index was recorded in district 6 — which includes Highway 67/US 321 around Watauga Lake, and along 19E from Elizabethton to the North Carolina line. District 8 — from the Milligan Highway to Elizabethton and the Hunter community — had an average increase of 7 percent over 2019. Heavily traveled roads such as the Milligan Highway and U.S. 321 continue to be some of the most littered areas in the county.
Other highlights from the survey:
– District 1 (Along Highway 91 from Elizabethton to the Johnson County line) had the lowest score on the litter index and showed a decline of over 50 percent since 2018.
– Two districts showed a decline for the first time since the survey began in 2018: District 3 (including parts of Johnson City, Watauga, Central Community, Elizabethton and 19E to the Sullivan County line) and District 4 (the area south of the Watauga River, north of Morton Road and east of the Doe River).
KCCB collects information from two-mile sections of highway in each voting district, where volunteers observe and record the amount of litter found. The organization uses a grading scale of one to four, with one for minimal or no litter, two for slight litter, three for littered and four for extreme litter.
Anyone observing littering from a vehicle is encouraged to report it on the TDOT website ( or call the toll-free 1-877-8-LITTER number.
Based on this information, TDOT will send a friendly reminder letter to the registered owner of the Tennessee vehicle informing them of the negative consequences of their littering actions and providing them with educational materials. The letter will include information about how to contain their litter.
Under state law, litterers can be fined up to $1,500.

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