RIVERS OF TRASH RUNNING THROUGHOUT THE U.S.
March 18, 2013
The Chesapeake Bay suffers horrific pollution from the Potomac River running right through the middle of Washington DC. Once rich with fisheries, oyster beds and ample avian life—the bay struggles under poisonous pesticides, endless container trash, plastics, fertilizers, petroleum and industrial run-off from upstream abusers.
While our U.S. Congress watches the polluted Potomac River right beneath its windows, it fails to pass meaningful 10 cent deposit-return container laws to thwart those who toss their bottles, cans and plastic containers anywhere and everywhere upon the landscape.
Unfortunately, wildlife, not knowing what to do with plastics and unable to avoid poisons—suffer horrible deaths from plastics stuffing up their gullets.
(Nothing can be more sickening than to watch beautiful birds walking amongst human trash in all its forms. Even worse, humans make no effort to clean up their trash all around the planet.) Photography by Reuters News
In a deeply disturbing story by AP reporter Verena Dobnic, she exposes the incredible trashing of Newtown Creek in New York. She said, “Just across the East River from Manhattan’s shimmering skyscrapers sits one of the nation’s most polluted neighborhoods, fouled by generations of industrial waste, overflow from the city’s sewage system and an underground oil leak bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill.”
(Plastic washing up on shorelines all around the world. When I visited the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific, plastic covered the shorelines on the eight islands that I visited. When I scuba dived under the waters, plastic bags hung from coral reefs and containers rolled around with the currents. Nothing is sacred to humans as they lay waste with their waste all over the planet.) Photography by www.fotoresearch.com
“It’s easy to see and smell the filth in and around Newtown Creek, which runs through an area of working-class homes, warehouses and industrial lots straddling Brooklyn and Queens,” said Dobnik. “The odor of petroleum mixes with the smell of sewage…when the city’s treatment plants can’t handle the volume, the municipal pipes send trash and human waste into the creek that ends up in the Atlantic Ocean.”
(Wildlife cannot discern food from plastic and when they eat it, they die.)
Soda cans, plastic bottles, raw sewage and decaying food fill the oily, rainbow-slick water sliding down Newtown Creek like a poisonous snake. Indeed, it kills most living things within its depths.
“It’s a byproduct of our society,” said environmentalist John Lipscomb of the Riverkeeper clean-water advocacy group. “What was originally a watershed is now a sewage shed.”
Dobnik reported that a 15 foot-thick layer of petroleum-based pollutants, nicknamed “black mayonnaise” covers the bottom of the river. Endless upstream oil refineries over the decades spilled their effluent into the river without considering downstream impacts.
Reality check: every river in America runs to the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico laden with trash, poisons, containers and plastics. The Mississippi River alone features a 10,000 square mile dead zone at its mouth. That means vertebrate marine life cannot exist within that poisonous zone.
Yet, Congress and nobody in any of the states do anything to stop it, change it or make it better. I remember after I canoed the Mississippi River at its source at Lake Itasca, Minnesota, I collected thousands of cans, trash and plastic bottles along the 2,552 miles of the river. Afterwards, I wrote 800 word commentaries imploring the people of Minnesota to pass a 10 cent container deposit-return law.
The Minneapolis-Star Tribune and the Pioneer Express, the two main papers in the state, refused to publish the commentary. I rewrote a 200 word “letter to the editor” imploring them to encourage Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, high schools, Rotary, Lions and other clubs to clean up the banks of Old Man River. The papers refused to publish my letters. Today, the Mississippi River runs like a giant conveyor belt loaded with cars, trash, millions of tossed containers, couches, sunken boats, bed sheets, plastic bags and more crap than you can imagine. Why? Because no one cares enough to take action even as they watch the trash float past them.
(Billions of people don’t think humans suffer an overpopulation predicament. All of us throw some kind of trash into the natural world, i.e. carbon exhaust, poisons, trash, bottles, cans, plastic and much more.) Photography by www.fotoresearch.com
It’s amazing to me that people in cities walk through piles of trash, but won’t stop to pick anything up. In the wilderness, farmers and small town throw trash and create dumps anywhere in the woods—with no regard for long term consequences. Trash litters every highway in America, but only six states feature 5 cent deposit-return container laws. Michigan remains the best with a 10 cent deposit-return law.
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dampen my spirits even further and having traveled throughout the
third world where trash overwhelms cities in India, Mexico, and
Bangladesh, I cannot for the life of me understand how we can continue
“trashing of our rivers” and land without moving to
create solutions at the source.
None of it’s pretty and all of it deadly for the natural world and all wildlife.
(Plastics destroy marine, avian and ultimately all wildlife. Just look at the picture on the right with all the plastic bags washed up from the ocean. Imagine what that plastic does while it’s in the oceans.) Photography by www.fotoresearch.com
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© 2013 Frosty Wooldridge - All Rights Reserved
Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. His published books include: "HANDBOOK FOR TOURING BICYCLISTS"; “STRIKE THREE! TAKE YOUR BASE”; “IMMIGRATION’S UNARMED INVASION: DEADLY CONSEQUENCES”; “MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE TO ALASKA: INTO THE WIND—A TEEN NOVEL”; “BICYCLING AROUND THE WORLD: TIRE TRACKS FOR YOUR IMAGINATION”; “AN EXTREME ENCOUNTER: ANTARCTICA.” His next book: “TILTING THE STATUE OF LIBERTY INTO A SWAMP.” He lives in Denver, Colorado.
His latest book. ‘IMMIGRATION’S UNARMED INVASION—DEADLY CONSEQUENCES.’