Human beings in every society create trash and waste. This is rare in other species. In natural ecosystems, the leavings of one species become the fodder for another. Even beaks and bones and bark and branches eventually are consumed. Sadly, too much of the waste we generate in the Chesapeake Bay watershed becomes trash and a lot of trash ends up in our waterways.
Some trash is biodegradable and decays in the water. In doing so, it may additional nutrients and toxins to waters that are already overloaded with nutrients and toxins. Non-biodegradable trash first of all is ugly, and spoils the natural beauty of our streams and coves. Old tires, discarded appliances, toys, bottles, cans, pallets and all manner of junk accumulates. The most pernicious floating
objects, however, are the plastic bags and containers that are carelessly dropped into storm drains or thrown into streams. They only degrade extremely slowly and they float seemingly forever. Plastic bags litter the farm fields and roadsides and bottles clover the surface of streams in certain places.
- Avoid plastic shopping bags where possible
- Recycle all plastic containers
- Use trash cans in public places
- Support legislation to help control plastic bags and plastic bottles
- Never throw anything in a stream that does not belong there.
- Organize a stream clean-up
Friends of the Middle River, Virginia
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