‘Litter Boom’ in Chattanooga Creek has collected 3,400 pounds of waste since May

WaterWays is a local non-profit dedicated to protecting and restoring our streams, creeks and rivers. Last year, they installed a litter trap, nicknamed the “litter boom,” in Chattanooga Creek, and the organization’s founder, Mary Beth Sutton, said the trap has made a significant impact so far.

“We put it in, in May of 2023, and since then, we’ve collected over 3,400 pounds of litter in this boom,” Sutton said. She emphasized the large volume that 3,400 pounds of lightweight waste would take up.

Sutton said WaterWays have partnered with Osprey Initiative to maintain the boom.

“They come a couple of times a month to clean it out and collect the data, so that’s why we know that it’s mostly plastic and styrofoam,” Sutton said.

Sutton said the next step is analyzing collected data and determining how to stop the problem at the source. She added that more litter booms could be coming to Citigo Creek, Mountain Creek and Stringers Branch in the future.

“We are in the process of working with TVA to get our litter booms permitted through TVA,” Sutton said. “We’ve got three more that are in the process.”

Sutton wants to remind everyone to do their part to keep our waterways clean.

“Every single person can make a difference if we all do one little thing,” Sutton said. “Imagine the impact of the entire population doing one little thing to improve the environment.”

To get involved, Sutton said to visit mywaterways.org. There are several community events coming up including “Save Water, Drink Wine” and the “Trash Masters Fishing Tournament.” Visit mywaterways.org to learn more.

This story originally appeared on Local3News by Leah Bolling. View the original story online here.


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The patented Litter Gitter is a tactical in-stream litter collection device used to intercept floating litter from stormwater runoff. The Osprey team handles all aspects of installing and maintaining these “trash traps” and compiles data on the items caught in them, recycling as much of the litter as possible.