PlanetTrash Is Taking Back the Streets

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In this case, it’s the Riverwalk Greenway. Since I enjoy walking, cycling and running on the 1.5-mile trail of the Riverwalk Greenway, I was appalled when I ran there recently and observed a large amount of litter.

Today, I walked the greenway with two paper grocery sacks and a camera. When I arrived, I saw the usual plastic soda bottles and cigarettes butts in the parking lot. I planned to collect one paper bag with trash and the other bag with recyclable plastic and aluminum. I picked up 21 plastic bottles and 8 aluminum cans. The trash bag contained building material wrappers, plastic bags, chip bags, granola bar wrappers and a Clorox bottle that had been chewed and scratched at by a wild animal (above). Much of the trash was too large or too difficult for me to collect alone.

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As those of you who read this blog regularly know, the sight in nature that makes me the maddest is a plastic bag hanging from a tree (above). I tried to remove this bag with some fallen branches, but the bag was too high for me to reach. During my run by there earlier in the week, I saw a green heron and numerous other birds. Plastic of any kind can be fatal to a bird when it gets trapped in it.

As I continued to walk, I saw lots of building material trash, as many homes are still being constructed along the Riverwalk Greenway. Why do construction companies allow their employees to litter? I believe that they should be held accountable for the garbage and biohazards they leave behind. Home builders should be required to leave a clean environment. One large piece of trash had a warning printed on it about some hazard to eyes. Did I mention that many families and their pets were walking the greenway this morning?

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I’ve cycled, walked or run on this greenway since it was completed, and I’ve observed a bizarre “trash,” or “art,” (above) get more complex over the years. Today, I examined it closely for the first time. There is a hammock-type construction in the middle and at the top. At the bottom, is a fireplace, although it never has been used. I found sticks and plastic bottles in the circle of rocks. Hesitantly I removed the plastic bottles and was relieved not to find something worse.

Next month, the Great American Clean-Up begins. One Riverwalk resident exclaimed “thank you” from her balcony as she realized that I was picking up garbage. When I approached her, I discovered that Chris and her husband Joe are new residents, who have been regularly picking up trash along the greenway. They will be joining in, and continuing, the Great American Clean-Up.
Please get involved. Pick up one piece of litter you see each day.

Go here to view more pictures of the trash on the Riverwalk Greenway.

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