Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Where Does Litter Go?

We've all taught our kids to not litter, but have you ever given much thought to where that litter on the side of the road ends up? I'm learning that much of it ends up clogging up our ponds and lakes, streams and rivers, and, eventually our oceans. Trash left on the ground can eventually blow or drift into local waterways and that's where it can really cause problems for animals who frequently mistake plastic trash (which sticks around longer than any of the biodegradable items) for food.

If you haven't seen the video of the great plastic patch in the Pacific Ocean, you have to check it out to get an idea of how big the problem is.

I recently learned about the SOAR project from Ron Hirschi who is educating people on the dangers of plastic in the ocean to albatross and other animals. He lives on Marrowstone Island, which looks like a beautiful place, but also seems to be where a lot of the trash from the Seattle area eventually gets deposited. Over a 2 week period, he collected 171 bottlecaps on his beach! He believes that getting those bottlecaps into the recycling chain would help matters, but right now many curbside recycling programs (including mine) don't allow them. I'll work on them...

I don't like the looks of trash on the side of the road, but I usually don't think of it as potentially deadly for another animal. Next time we're out for the walk, we'll take a bag along and do our share to pick it up.

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