A group of 105 of our committed community members joined forces this past Saturday on September 21, 2019 to once again make sure our creek is well-cared for. In just 3 hours we removed over 5,500lbs of materials (including 650lbs of recyclables) from the creek and surrounding areas. We prevented those materials from making a journey that taints our water supplies and harms wildlife along its route to the oceans which ultimately changes the quality of life for our entire earth. That is a big “Thank You”! While watching everybody gathering and talking, it seemed like the event is starting to feel more like a celebration than just a waste management effort.
The good thing is that in the high traffic areas like the trails adjacent to the creek, the materials removed were for the most part superficial. They were mostly light weight disposable items which did not contribute so much to the volume. The top three items collected this year continue to show a drop in the number of pieces we handled. However, they were the same three items that were present last year but (did I say butt?), they did shift positions with cigarette butts dropping to last place. This year’s top three items were food wrappers (623), beverage containers (537) and cigarette butts (477).
The majority of the weight came from big heavy items, some of which have been there through the years. This year the outer crews were able to dig a little deeper, extracting older heavier materials from sites that have either become more exposed or more accessible. Go team! We were also able to take pre-emptive steps to remove old irrigation materials that would be destined to become those dreaded micro-plastics we keep hearing about as they continue to break down and eventually head out to sea.
What this might be showing us is that through our persistence, not only are we reducing the kinds of materials that steadily appear year after year, but we are now able to get to those materials that have been there “for another day”. The fact that we also do a Spring cleaning may also be helping.
It does feel like we are cleaning our own house- our living room in fact. Perhaps the presence of trash allows the idea that it is ok to leave more. And maybe walking along clean creek is promoting itself because it looks like our house is staying cleaner longer. This is the kind of momentum we all know needs to grow.
You can view photos of the the Putah Creek Cleanup at this link: 2019 Putah Creek Cleanup photos. If you have photos you would like to share with everyone, please share them directly to the album.
This is really your event. We at the Council merely give you a platform to organize yourselves. We help these Clean Up events happen every year, so if you are feeling good about the momentum that you are causing, come on out and join the next cleaning event so we can catch up on our lives again while we put another aluminum can in the recycling bin.
From the folks at Putah Creek Council and especially from the creek- we all thank you!