What could be better than boating around on the Ohio River on a beautiful day? Participating in a cleanup while doing so! Our Family Community Service volunteers did just this the other day.
At first glance, the banks of the Ohio River look lush and green but upon further inspection, many areas of the riverbank hide countless pieces of trash and debris that have taken up residence along the shores. These bits and pieces of debris get into our waterways via many routes; but one of the main ways trash gets into our bodies of water is via roadside litter washing down storm drains and out into the creeks, streams and rivers.
This trash then makes its way from the Ohio River to the Mississippi River and out into the Ocean at the Gulf of Mexico. By the time this trash has reached the ocean in many cases, it has been broken down into tiny particles called microplastics that are extremely hard to remove. These trash particles are so numerous that they have combined in some areas to create a vortex of trash. One of the more infamous is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Picture an area of floating trash in the ocean twice the size of Texas!
So what can we do to help mitigate this problem? There are many things we can do on an individual level to lessen our plastic consumption such as using reusable grocery bags and water bottles. You can even take further action like our amazing Family Community Service volunteers by serving your time with us here at the Zoo on projects where we go out and clean up this heinous debris.
The Zoo in partnership with Living Lands & Waters, an environmental nonprofit dedicated to cleaning up our Nation’s rivers and watersheds, took out volunteers along the banks of the river where they combed the shore for trash and debris and collected an impressive 2,059lbs of trash including tires, buckets, ropes, and countless plastics. This trash was collected in just a few short hours and diverted from our waterways and eventually our oceans. Imagine what we could accomplish with your help next time!
Interested in joining the Zoo’s Family Community Service Program? Sign up here!