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One person CAN make a difference 

Although boating provides hours of enjoyment, it also has the potential to add a variety of pollutants into the environment, including oil, hazardous waste, and marine debris. This pollution harms water quality and aquatic life. recommends the following tips for a clean and green boating experience:

1.    Prevent oily discharges from the bilge: Keep your engine well-tuned to prevent fuel and oil leaks. Secure an oil absorbent pad or pillow in your bilge and under your engine where drips may occur. Dispose of them as hazardous waste at a marina or local hazardous waste collection center.

2.    Spill-proof your oil changes: For oil changes, use an oil change pump to transfer oil to a spill-proof container. Wrap a plastic bag or absorbent pad around the oil filter to prevent oil from spilling into the bilge.

3.    Limit fuel spills: Prevent fuel spills by filling fuel tanks slowly. Don’t “top off” or overflow your fuel tank.

4.    Do not add soap: Never use soap to disperse fuel and oil spills. It increases harm to the environment and it is illegal.

5.    Minimize boat cleaning and maintenance in the water: If possible, save maintenance projects for the boatyard. When performing work on the water, minimize your impact by containing waste.

6.    Reduce toxic discharges from bottom paints: Minimize the discharge of heavy metals found in soft-sloughing antifouling paints by using a less toxic, or nontoxic antifouling paint. Use only non-abrasive underwater hull cleaning techniques to prevent excessive paint discharge.

7.    Dispose of hazardous waste properly: Dispose of paints, batteries, antifreeze, cleaning products, oil, oil filters, and other hazardous waste at a hazardous waste collection facility.

8.    Manage sewage wastes properly: Never discharge sewage in waterways. Use pump-out stations and marina facilities. If you don’t have an installed toilet, use a porta-potty and empty it at a harbor dump station or bathroom.

9.    Stow it, don’t throw it! Keep your trash on board. Never throw cigarette butts, fishing line, or any other garbage into the ocean. Take advantage of marina facilities to recycle plastic, glass, metal, and paper.

10.   Reduce greywater discharges: Use a phosphate-free biodegradable soap to minimize the impacts of greywater on the marine environment.

11.   Bait, fish and other waste from fishing activities are often dumped overboard at marinas in large quantities. Dead fish and fish parts are colonized by bacteria leading to low oxygen zones in the water creating both life threatening conditions for wildlife and unpleasant conditions in the marina. This problem is exacerbated by hot summer days when conditions for bacteria growth are most favorable

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Litter is defined by Tennessee law as perishable animal and vegetable waste, garbage, perishable and nonperishable solid waste and tobacco products.


Section 39-14-503. (a) Mitigated criminal littering is littering in an amount less than or equal to five pounds (5 lbs.) in weight or seven and one-half (7.5) cubic feet in volume. 

  • criminal littering is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of fifty dollars ($50.00)

Section 39-14-504. (a) Criminal littering is littering in an amount more than five pounds (5 lbs.) in weight or seven and one-half (7.5) cubic feet in volume and less than or equal to ten pounds (10 Ibs.) in weight or fifteen (15) cubic feet in volume.

  • littering is a Class B misdemeanor, up to a $500 fine

  • In addition to the penalties established in this section, the court shall require a person convicted under this part to remove litter from the state or local highway system, public playgrounds, public parks or other appropriate public locations for not more than eighty (80) hours. The court, in its discretion, may also a person convicted under this section to work in a recycling center or other appropriate location for any stated period of time not to exceed eight (8) hours.

Section 39-14-505. (a) Aggravated criminal littering is littering:

  • In an amount exceeding ten pounds (10 lbs.) in weight or fifteen (15) cubic feet in volume; or

  • In any amount for any commercial purpose

  •  Aggravated criminal littering is a Class A misdemeanor, except in the following circumstances, in which case it is a Class E felony, up to a $1,500 fine.


Tennessee Toll-Free Litter Hotline

Tennesseans who are tired of trash along state roadways now have a new tool to report litter bugs. The Tennessee Department of Transportation announced today a new toll-free litter hotline, 1-877-8-LITTER (877-854-8837). The litter hotline is part of the new statewide anti-litter campaign, StopLitter™. The hotline provides a way for Tennesseans to report people they witness littering along the state’s roadways, such as a person throwing a paper cup or cigarette butt out of a window, or an item falling from an unsecured load.

“The new toll-free litter hotline gives citizens the ability to Stop It,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “Now anyone who witnesses a person littering can report it and trigger action to improve the quality of the environment and the cleanliness of our roadways. Tennessee has some of the best roads in the nation. With everyone’s help, we can have some of the cleanest, too.”

Citizens who witness a litter bug in action can call 1-877-8-LITTER (877-854-8837). Callers will reach a recording that asks them to provide information about the vehicle. The information that will be requested includes:

  • license plate number (Tennessee plates only)

  • type and make of the vehicle

  • day and time the incident occurred

  • location where the incident occurred

  • the type of item tossed or blown from the vehicle

TDOT will mail a letter to the registered owner of the vehicle along with a StopLitter™ car trash bag or portable ashtray and other anti-litter information. The letter is a gentle reprimand reminding the recipient that littering is against the law and punishable by a fine of up to $1500.


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Click here for a complete list of the TN Litter Laws

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