When the Plastics Problem Hits Home

Plastic bottle found floating in the Clackamas River, Oregon
If you've ever read about plastics in oceans and waterways, you've probably seen some horrific photos of marine animals entangled in plastic. They're enough to make one want to take action. And at the same time, somehow, it can be hard to feel like the plastics problem is directly affecting you. When you stop reading the article, the problem may get lost in the busyness of everyday life.

This has often been my experience. I'd love to take action to reduce plastic usage-- of course I'm not pro-plastics. There are just seemingly more pressing tasks in everyday life that manage to take priority.

The other day, though, the plastics problem hit home for me. I found this bottle floating while paddling a local river. A Red Merganser Duck was pushing it around with its beak, but flew away once we got closer. As a whitewater kayaker, I love the river. It's where I get away from the concrete of the city and enjoy pristine water and a variety of wildlife. So seeing this plastic bottle was personal for me; I feel a sense of attachment to this place. Even though it was only one bottle, the problem of plastics in our waterways affected me more directly than ever, and I did not like it at all.

Here's a challenge: let's tackle this issue, together, before it becomes more tangible. Let's clear our oceans and waterways and keep them clear. Reduce plastic usage. Reuse what we can. Recycle more. Write our Elected Officials. Sign petitions. Share what we're doing with our communities. When it's all said and done, let's go enjoy those wonderfully clean waterways and oceans.