Our behavior has consequences.
Our oceans have big problems. I think this fact is common knowledge by now. In particular, plastics end up in the ocean.
It is estimated that 8.8 million tons of plastics spill into the oceans every year. Every year. No biological cleaning mechanism can take care of this.
Driving home in daylight, enjoying the view over Penn Cove, I was stunned when I left the highway and turned onto Madrona Way. Lots of different colors hit my eye that belonged to various items of trash.
After another half mile I had to stop. I felt ashamed and embarrassed, and mad about what I saw.
I had a big black garbage bag in the trunk and I started my trash collection walking back toward the highway. My goal was to collect on both sides of the road.
I realized very soon that I had totally underestimated the quantity of items I would find.
The bag filled way too quickly: plastic bags, leftovers of Ziploc bags, coffee cups, lids, straws, a ton of glass bottles — all alcoholic drinks — food wrapping, etc. The unnerving part is that the road is right next to the water.
I regularly enjoy seeing the herons, seagulls and various ducks when driving along this portion of Madrona Way that is along the water.
The views are mostly breathtaking and pure beauty. The birds and the creatures that live in our waters are the ones that will eventually ingest the debris that is easily ending up in the water.
What I collected over the stretch of about half mile on only one side of the road amounted to 21.8 pounds. I had to stop because the bag was full and heavy to carry back to the car.
It is very disappointing and disheartening to witness how little some of us care about our precious island or nature in general. My husband and I never leave for a dog walk without a bag for trash– and we always find some.
We are out and about a lot, because we are runners and cyclists and often saw so much trash on our regular routes that we drove back later and cleaned up.
We have collected numerous bags on about a mile of Keystone Hill Road, Madrona’s Westside and Morris Road in Coupeville, just to name a view.
I know there are other good Samaritans that care and take on clean-ups. Imagine that this would not be happening.
Whidbey Island would probably really not be famous for its beauty. We should take pride of the place where we live and do everything we can to keep it healthy.
Maybe one should think again before letting things fly out of the window. Remind each other of being better stewards of our island and ultimately keep the waters clean. It will be rewarding for decades to come.