Why is there so much trash on Interstate 24?

May 14, 2019 at 01:04 pm by Michelle Willard

Keep Tennessee Beautiful, y'all.

I have a confession to make: I don't live in Rutherford County. Haven't in years. (Don't drag me. I grew up here, which is why I live in Davidson County.)

Instead, I drive in almost every morning from South Nashville. I watch all the suckers trying to go into Davidson County on my reverse commute.

I also watch all the trash on the side of the interstate. There are enough pieces of broken furniture to fill a house, not to mention the blown-out tires, random pieces of construction debris and hard hats.

Do people not know how to tie down a mattress so it won't fly off when you hit, oh, 15 mph? And that recliners won't stay in the bed of a truck going 70 mph if not properly secured?

I know this because it's all on the side of the interstate in piles with all the trash.

The most bothersome thing on the side of 24 is something that I have watched since around the beginning of the year.

It's a dead deer.

The deer's final resting place is right before the Sam Ridley Parkway overpass on I-24 East.

Bambi's mom has been frozen, had road salt drift onto her lifeless form, been rained on and somehow, somehow, it's still there.

Granted now it's more of a leathery husk of what once was a majestic creature.


Who is responsible for removing this poor deer to, I assume, Middle Point Landfill? It would be a more fitting grave than the concrete median on Interstate 24.

But, of course, the deer isn't the only thing muddling our highways and byways.

According to TDOT, $15 million is spent every year to educate the Tennessee public on the hazards of litter.

Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Highway Beautification office said there are 100 million pieces of litter on Tennessee’s roads at any given time.

Hold on, let me do that with zeros -- 100,000,000 pieces of litter.

That's ridiculous.

In Tennessee, fines for littering range from $50 to $3,000. However, it's hard to call in a piece of trash falling off the back of a truck while you're driving. (I know. I've tried.)

TDOT responded last year with the “Nobody Trashes Tennessee” campaign, which calls on the public to snitch on litterbugs. (You can buy T-shirts here.)

Instead, why don't drivers follow state law and put a tarp over loose debris in the bed of trucks and tie down those mattresses. It's surely cheaper than buying a new one.

That way, I don't have to look at, and sometimes swerve to avoid, your trash on the side of the interstate.

And for god's sake, someone help that poor deer. 


I HATE that Americans are no more concerned with our environment than to carelessly dump their refuse alongside our roadways, or anywhere else other than an appropriate receptacle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me too Luis. When I walk my dog, I come home with handfuls of trash.
What a waste of $15 Million! Does not seem to be doing any good! Cold be better spent on improving roads and infrastructure.
Perhaps they should have spent the money actually picking up trash.
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