Local family picks up trash across TN; promotes anti-litter campaign
Love the land and lose the litter is the motto of one Chattanooga family promoting environmental awareness. The Porfiri family is spending the month of June traveling in a RV to 20 different counties across the Volunteer State and cleaning up litter.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) estimates crews picked up more than 23 million pounds of litter on Tennessee roadsides in 2012. So with the help of grant money from TDOT, the Porfiri family and other volunteers are "Pickin' up Tennessee" one ounce at a time.
"It's like a great family vacation," said Linda Duvoisin. "I'm not trying to be hokey."
Linda and her husband Dave Porfiri are filmmakers by trade and environmental stewards by choice. During the month of June, the couple is promoting their clean-up mission, traveling thousands of miles with their two girls in tow.
"We see a beautiful Tennessee and if people litter in it then it won't be beautiful anymore," said 8-year-old Harlan.
Harlan, 8, understands the importance of "Pickin' up Tennessee."
"I've actually seen a lot of litter before and I've wanted to pick it up but I can't because it's on the side of the road and I'm driving somewhere," Harlan said.
By the end of June, the Porfiri family will have traveled to 20 different Tennessee counties. Many of their destinations are rural communities that normally rely on inmate labor.
"Some of my favorite mental images of the project are my kids doing litter pick-up side-by-side with convicts who are in the orange jumpsuits," said Dave Porfiri.
"For a second I thought we were prisoners," laughed 10-year-old Jane.
Jane spent last summer like most kids: in camps, by the pool or on the couch. But this summer, she's cleaning after others.
"If we litter, it's not good for the earth. I would never, ever litter and I think no one should at all," Jane said.
Mom and dad are proud of the summer adventure.
"I think it'll be one of those summers they'll never forget where 20 years from now we'll be talking about it at Thanksgiving," said Jane. "'Remember when you made us do that 20 litter pickups in the RV?!'"
The family is documenting the entire summer on social media.