Coming from landlocked Tennessee, Cash knows that plastic pollution isn’t just an ocean problem but a world problem, and a river problem. In his words: “Most ocean plastic actually starts on land and is blown or swept into rivers where it makes its way to the ocean. 80% starts on land so if we only focus on our oceans there will be little improvement but people in landlocked states, like me, don’t understand their impact on the ocean.”
Cash has done several river clean-ups along the Tennessee River, finding the majority of trash to be single-use plastic, along with fishing lines left along the banks and not disposed of, causing potential harm and death to our amazing wildlife.
Cash’s campaign aims to reduce the amount of single-use plastic and fishing lines in waste streams. His goal is to stop plastic pollution from reaching our oceans by addressing it at its source: “If we can increase the recycling efforts inland and the coastal efforts continue we will eventually have cleaner water and a healthier planet.”
Through his research, Cash learned that the Tennessee River is the most microplastic-polluted body of water in the world. This is more than likely due to landfill waste and lack of recycling in our southern states. Cash plans to place recycle bins, fishing line receptacles, and educational material primarily at local fishing holes and recycle bins at golf courses. Through a grant provided by the Ocean Heroes Network, Cash has been able to purchase recycling bins and other educational material to provide along the Tennessee River.
Recently, Cash was featured on the Kelly Clarkson Show with fellow Ocean Hero Chloe Mei. Watch their interview here: