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Stop the Madness

June 2, 2011

By Jennifer Chaky

“Dump No Waste. Drains to RIver.” I’ve seen this stamped on sewers my whole life and never thought about it. But on my walks around town I noticed the sewers brimming with debris–plastic bottles, bags, straws, wrappers…all kinds of garbage. And that’s when the reality hit me: Drains to River. All this trash ends up in our rivers, streams, and eventually oceans. Today the sewers were not overflowing with trash, and my heart sank as I realized it’s been raining heavily so all the garbage has been washed down the drains and into our waterways. So our rivers and oceans are becoming (or already are) as polluted as sewers. This is how the massive plastic islands out at sea are formed, and how the petro-chemicals that comprise all that plastic gets released into our water and build up in sea life.

You might think: Well, I don’t litter, so this isn’t my trash. But I am afraid it very well may be. Trash gets out of hand easily—you may accidentally leave a water bottle at a park, or it may blow out of your recycling bin when it’s on the curb. As long as we use as much plastic as we as a society do, it will be hard to contain the debris. So I propose a plan to stop this madness. Stop using unnecessary plastic like throwaway beverage bottles, utensils, straws, and plates, shopping bags, overly-packaged products like Lunchables, and an overabundance of household and personal care products. And the second thing I propose is adopting a sewer.

Pick a sewer grate near your home—maybe there is even one right outside your door. Check on that sewer grate frequently and pick up any trash that accumulates. We know it’s not your job, and it certainly may not be your trash, but it is your river and ocean. And it should not be treated like a sewer. Did you ever think you could be a hero by guarding a sewer? Well, you can be. Starting this very moment.

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