Stop Trash in its Tracks: Eliminate Marine Debris at the Source

August5Last year’s Clean Your Streams Day included 971 volunteers who collected 13,528 pounds of trash over 33.9 miles of river bank. During the cleanup, volunteers diligently tracked the types of trash that they collected. With this information Partners for Clean Streams is better able to educate people and focus future cleanup efforts. The top ten items found in Lucas County demonstrate that a significant amount of trash found during cleanups comes from one-time use products like food wrappers, cigarette butts, plastic bottles, plastic bags, disposable cups and plates, and beverage cans. By recycling or reducing usage of these types of products, we can all have a big impact on our waterways. We encourage you to take advantage of reusable products as much as possible. Reusable water bottles and grocery bags are a great start. Repackaging food bought in bulk is another means for saving money and helping reduce waste. To get more information on how to reduce plastic waste, explore NOAA’s Marine Debris program.

During Clean Your Streams Day, volunteers find many other unique items that tell a different story about marine debris. Unique and strange items found in 2015 included spray paint cans, a power drill, coconuts, a table, a wheel barrel, a wooden train whistle, a toaster oven, a bible, 97 baseballs, a wig, and 10 shopping carts. It is important to find appropriate ways of disposing items such as these. Many municipalities and cities hold special trash days where citizens can dispose of large amounts of trash before they reach our waterways. Look into proper ways of recycling electronics, yard waste, and household hazardous wastes through your local government. Lucas County provides a number of opportunities for trash disposal, with more information on their website. In the near future, look for a new edition to our Clean Your Streams page on our website, focusing on marine debris prevention and reducing our impact on waterways.