You may remember this cute little song from your school days. It was a call for everyone to pitch in to pick up the mess - regardless of who made it. Volunteer stream cleanups rely on the same sense of shared responsibility. They’re a great way to teach both children and adults that “there is no away”. Most trash doesn’t breakdown – it just moves around. Litter on the land creates lots of problems when it moves to our streams, rivers and Lake Erie.
Stream cleanups make a difference to your community and those downstream. When litter isn’t removed wildlife can easily become entangled in fishing line, plastic bags, balloons and similar items. Fish and birds mistake bits of Styrofoam, cigarette butts, plastic cigar tips and lead fishing weights as food.
Then there’s plastic. Tiny pieces of plastic can be ingested by fish and other aquatic organisms, potentially leading to malnutrition or harming their digestive systems. As plastics break down, they can leach harmful chemicals into the water; or organic pollutants can become attached to the plastics and concentrate in fish tissue.
So where does all this plastic and other trash come from? Our streams and rivers, which receive litter washed off the streets and through the storm sewer system, or that has otherwise been carelessly discarded. Cleaning the area next to the stream and storm drains is a great job for those who don’t want to get wet. In fact, river cleanups are the last line of defense before the trash makes its way into Lake Erie. Once in the lake, there is very little chance of the trash ever being recovered.
So join Cuyahoga SWCD and our partners at a River Cleanup this year and help save the critters that call our rivers and Lake Erie home.
Upcoming River Cleanups:
Mar 08, 2020 at 1:00 pm- Acacia Euclid Creek Stream Cleanup
May 16, 2020 at 9:00 am- Oakwood Stream Cleanup
May 16, 2020 at 10:00 am- Spring Wildwood Cleanup
Jun 06, 2020 at 9:00 am- Big Creek Watershed Cleanup
Jun 06, 2020 at 9:00 am- 20th Annual Rocky River Cleanup
Jun 20, 2020 at 10:00 am- Euclid River Day Stream Cleanup
Jun 20, 2020 at 10:00 am- Warrensville Heights RiverDay Stream Cleanup
Blog Author: Jacki Zevenbergen, Stormwater Education Program Manager