Trash from a CleanupOne of our main focuses at PCS is removing the trash from local streams and rivers. Even though volunteers remove tons of trash every year during our cleanup events, trash accumulates quickly in our waterways. That’s certainly not what we want in our drinking water. Unfortunately, this reoccurring problem is more widespread than Toledo. Marine debris, or trash in waterways, is a huge ongoing issue around the world. However, there are actions we can take to prevent trash from reaching the waterways and PCS is working to initiate those actions locally. PCS received a grant from NOAA’s Marine Debris program, through the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, to further enhance two of our largest river cleanup initiatives, Clean Your Streams and Get the Lead Out. In addition, we will be creating educational tools to explain the connection between household trash, how that trash travels to a river, and what happens to the trash once it reaches its final destination. One of our strategies in correcting the trash problem is by providing the proper receptacles for disposing of certain types of debris. PCS is teaming with NOAA Marine Debris and Ohio’s Clean Marinas program to install new Fishing Line Recycling Bins in heavily fished areas around the greater Toledo area.

To further engage the community, groups will be able adopt these recycling bins, maintain and monitor the amount of line collected. PCS is currently organizing this program and planning for implementation in the spring of 2015.

With the NOAA Marine Debris and a Litter Grant from the Ohio EPA, we are targeting river cleanup areas that need more attention, more often than our large, one-day regional Clean Your Streams Day cleanup. We will track the trash accumulation in local waterways in detail and therefore be able to understand the patterns of deposition. This program is in the early planning stages and will be executed next year. With help from the Toledo Community Foundation (through a grant received last year), we are organizing these new programs to further extend the impact of our already successful Get the Lead Out and Clean Your Streams events. While PCS is going ahead strong in trash removal efforts, you could be the real hero by preventing trash from entering our waterways. You ultimately choose where to throw your empty lunch bag or whether to buy something that can be recycled or not. You can make a difference in the marine debris issue by taking preventive actions, like securing your trash can to prevent it from blowing away or taking extra care to hold onto cups and straws on a windy day at the park. Trash in our environment adds up quickly, and while we are working hard to correct the issue, the process begins with you. It is easier to prevent trash from getting into the water, than getting it out. In advance, we thank you for doing your part.