It had rained heavily the night before. The streets were still wet. The grass was wet. And the trash was wet. We walked about four miles dragging heavy, commercial size plastic bags stuffed with wet cardboard, plastic bags caked with mud. We picked up countless plastic bags, plastic bottles and Styrofoam cups. One complete tire tread. We filled bag after bag dragging them through the wet grass with our boots getting wet and heavy. Broken bottles, aluminum cans, fertilizer bags and hub caps.
We worked more than four hours when heavy rain started coming down. When we heard the lighting we called it a day. Trash veteran Don Shuck (I’m sure Don treasures that title), Candy Shuck and Debbie Weaver (veterans both). Jim Legault showed his mettle by working in the worst of it: about six long blocks of a small but steep and wet hill with a stream with plastic bags catching on overgrowth. A lot of our roadway for the Adopt-A-Highway program is commercially maintained so usually these areas are relatively quick to clean. Not so with the stream area. The small trees and cattails are trash filters. They capture and lock plastic bags and cups. The stream covers half of the trash item with silt, making it heavy from the water and mud.
At the end, we stacked the trash filled bags in one area for INDOT to pick up and went back to our cars. Jim had to leave but the rest of us went to Bellacino's for pizza. We were filthy, wet and exhausted. And smiling. Why would anyone do this?
These are the reasons. Everyone is aware of the affect of litter on the environment and the impact on animals. Everyone feels bad about the mess that humans have created. Everyone is busy.
When I first read about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch I thought it was environmental propaganda. The third time I heard the phrase I Google it. It is a trash patch its size has been described as being anywhere from the size of Texas to the size of the continental United States. The measurement I have heard most frequently is "twice the size of Texas." Whatever its size, that's a lot of garbage. Covering that area, there is more plastic than there is plankton, and, unfortunately, birds and fish that survive on plankton can't always tell the difference until it's too late.
Like you, I find these images very disturbing. They are called “dumb animals” but we love them and love to see them. Like so many things, these items were once sources of convenience; consumer and manufacturing convenience. That time has passed. Both Debbie and I now work hard and are proud on consuming less that has to be recycled.
We can’t change the world by ourselves. But we can donate a few hours out of our busy schedule and make hundreds of pounds of difference. And feel even better about ourselves. That’s why we do it.
You can feel better too. Everyone is busy but there is always time for the important things. It takes a little more than four hours for 4 to 5 people to pick up hundreds of pounds of trash. With a few more people, we could pick up the same hundreds of pound in half the time. There is always time for the important things.
Click here to make this one of the important things: http://cirpca.org/CIRCalendar/tabid/8...
The image on left is of a plastic ring got stuck on the turtle when it was young, and its exoskeleton grew around it.
The image on the right is a researcher in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Both images are from an article found at:
Additional information about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch can be found at: