The litter you don’t see and can’t reach

aagarbageEveryone should do their part to keep Texas rivers and creeks clean by throwing their trash away.

But the smallest piece of litter left on the ground can find its way to the water and drift down the creek, never to be seen again and never picked up. What starts off as a small piece of trash gets bunched together to form a large pile on the surface of the water.

White Rock Lake in Dallas is full of anglers; some fishing in White Rock’s annual tournaments. But the bank anglers on the north side of White Rock have to cast carefully to avoid getting snagged on pieces of floating trash. Not only is there trash on the surface but also tons of sunken trash. The structure that fish need to survive is altered with the trash that accumulates. 

The majority of items found clustered up on White Rock Lake in Dallas are milk jugs, hooks, old fishing line, alcohol cans, plastic and cardboard. Most of these items were used on the shoreline and were left there without proper disposal. 

Now that trash drifts down the creek. 

Shana Murff, park maintenance program coordinator for White Rock Lake, is part of team that helps keep the lakes in her area clean. Murff organizes the Adopt-A-Shoreline program. 

This cause has been providing volunteer work for 14 years. Every second Saturday of the month, teams go pick up trash in the area around the lake they are assigned. Currently, every section of shoreline is assigned to an Adopt-A-Shoreline team. There are currently 48 groups who have an assigned shoreline, with more on a waiting list.

“We want the city to show ownership of our lakes,” said Murff.

The Adopt-A-Shoreline circumnavigates the lake but can’t get into the areas along the north creek of White Rock Lake.  Big collections of trash gather together at every curve of the northern creek.

The only people who can see this trash are the ones who kayak and canoe down the creek. When the kayakers reach these areas, often they are forced to paddle through the trash. 

The White Rock Paddle Company has been renting kayaks and paddleboards to visitors since 2010, and they encourage renters to take a trash bag and pick up the trash they see. 

But the best way to prevent litter collecting in the creeks is to make sure all trash is disposed of properly. 

For more information on Adopt-A-Shoreline you can visit their website