Community members pick up trash in area
BY ROBBIE HARGETT
If you were driving by certain areas in Sevier County Saturday morning, you may have noticed the roadside dotted with people in neon green and orange vests.
These people were picking up trash across the county as part of Keep Sevier Beautiful’s Roads and Rivers Day, an attempt to get the community involved and clean up the area.
“It’s just a volunteer effort to keep the communities looking nice,” said Sam Padgett with Keep Sevier Beautiful. He and Gene Reed set up at Seymour First Baptist Church, handing out the neon vests, gloves, grabbers, trash bags and water bottles to anyone who came by to volunteer.
Padgett said that by 9:30 a.m. around 30 people had signed up to grab trash at the First Baptist sign-up location, one of eight locations across the county.
Padgett suggested locations that perhaps needed the most cleaning assistance, but the volunteers were free to pick up trash wherever they wanted.
He said areas on Maryville Highway, Boyds Creek Highway, Old Sevierville Pike, Chapman Highway and Rogers Road had the most trash in Seymour.
“And parts of North and South Shiloh, but those have been pretty well cleaned up,” Padgett said.
Buddy Greene of Seymour’s CROSS food ministry was grabbing trash along Chapman Highway between the AT&T store and Autozone, across the street from KFC.
“I don’t understand people who want to throw their trash out on the highway and litter,” Greene said. “It’s an eyesore, and it’s not good for the community.”
Greene said the food ministry does its own trash pickup, and this was the first time he’d volunteered with Roads and Rivers Day.
“Most of what I’m finding is cigarette butts,” Greene said. “Not only is it hazardous to their health, but they’re polluting the environment, too.”
After they’d finished picking up, the volunteers brought trash bags back to the location where they got their supplies. Or they just left the bags at the pickup site and told Keep Sevier Beautiful where they left them, so the organization could scoop them up later.
Other registration sites included Dixie Stampede, the 4-H office on Old Knoxville Highway, Food City in Sevierville, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Sevierville Primary School, Wilderness at the Smokies and Cove Creek RV Resort in Wears Valley.
This event occurs twice a year, with another pickup day in September.