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Dispose trash properly when visiting Corps lakes

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District
Published June 30, 2017
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District encourages the public to properly dispose trash when visiting Corps lakes.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District encourages the public to properly dispose trash when visiting Corps lakes.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District encourages the public to properly dispose trash when visiting Corps lakes.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District encourages the public to properly dispose trash when visiting Corps lakes.

Visitors at Corps lakes go boating, fishing, swimming or maybe just relax on the shoreline.  All these activities are perfectly fine until one particular thing happens - littering.  When this disgraceful activity happens then the good time turns into "trash pickup time."

What is the definition of trash? Trash is discarded matter that is no longer being used for any kind of activity. Empty cans, bottles, fishing line, Styrofoam, and lots of other harmful items are all things that adversely affect area lakes. 

Trash associated with fishing has been a major problem for years now.  It happens every day.  Someone fishing loses their big catch as the line breaks because it is old and dried out.  They cut the old line off and throw it on the ground if they’re bank fishing or in the water if they’re on the boat.  Then they grab the last refreshing beverage from their cooler, chug it down, and toss it in the lake.  They get up, discouraged about the fish, and leave the Styrofoam cooler behind because it was cheap and now it’s empty.  

Imagine, all that trash came from just one fisherman and could have some major impacts on the environment. The broken fishing line could tangle in the propeller of a boat passing by or create a tourniquet around the leg of an unsuspecting duck.  The one beverage can becomes hundreds, then thousands, as people see trash and decide their “one more” won’t matter.  Aluminum cans can lead to contamination of the water that people drink and fish.  The Styrofoam cooler breaks apart in the weather and floats on the surface, looking like tempting food to fish and birds.  The foam won’t digest in their stomachs and can cause blockages that result in death. The remaining foam keeps floating and is deposited in coves along with other debris to become an eyesore.

Each decision has consequences.  The fishing line could have been disposed of at the designated recycling areas stationed around the lakes.  The empty drink could have been put back in the cooler and the whole thing dropped off at the first trash can.  

Instead of using Corps lakes as a dumping ground, please be good stewards, dispose of trash properly, and keep the water and environment clean.