Volunteers deliver a boat load of trash and debris during the annual Watauga Lake Cleanup on Saturday. Photo by Dennis Shekinah
Seventy-six citizens participated in the Watauga Lake Cleanup on September 18, corresponding with the annual World Cleanup Day, which recorded 50 million volunteers from 150 countries doing what was accomplished at Watauga Lake: acting on the problem of litter. Though the final tonnage has not been weighed, the five hours of cleaning debris from our lake will likely yield over 5,000 pounds of garbage.
Families, friends, and lone kayakers brought their catch to collection sites at Roan Creek Bridge, Pioneer Landing Marina, and Fish Springs Marina. Johnson County Litter Control Officer Sandy Hammons continually ran trips from boats and pickup trucks to the Transfer Station. Carter County Solid Waste donated a large dumpster to Fish Springs Marina, which was filled by the end of the day.
Fish Springs and Lakeshore Marinas also donated the use of their barges for collection from isolated shores. While the sense of community was strong and a positive outlook ran through the volunteers, the question was frequently asked but never thoroughly answered, “why do people litter in the first place?”