Roadside trash and marine debris continue to be prevalent issues throughout the Greater Houston and Galveston area. Not only is trash along our roads and waterways unsightly and costly to remove; it also contributes to numerous environmental issues. Trash can clog storm drains and impede the natural flow of streams, creeks, and rivers, potentially increasing flood risks. Water quality can be impacted by trash floating on the surface of our waterways which blocks light from penetrating beneath the surface of the water. This loss of light impacts photosynthetic activity of plants and algae, reducing dissolved oxygen, which is necessary for aquatic animals to breathe. Certain types of trash and litter can also leach chemicals into our water, further creating negative impacts to water quality. Then there is the concern with plastic pollution, which persists in the environment. Over time, plastic simply breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually becoming microplastics that will remain in our environment forever.
All of these issues can impact wildlife around Galveston Bay due to wildlife sensitivity to oxygen, pH, and toxin levels. Additionally, wildlife may confuse trash and plastics with food, leading to negative body condition impacts and in severe cases even death. Then there is the issue of entanglement, especially related to abandoned, lost, and derelict fishing gear. Both aquatic animals and birds are endangered by this debris, which can leave lasting scars or result in mortality.
Considering these many threats, removal programs continue to be essential in protecting the health of Galveston Bay and the many animals that reside here. Numerous local non-profits and organizations are continually working to cleanup our neighborhoods and shorelines, through informal cleanups and large-scale community events. If you want to become involved in learning more about how you can help, visit the Galveston Bay Foundation’s website for details on how you can volunteer with the Marine Debris Program or conduct a neighborhood cleanup on your own!
You can also join in on an upcoming opportunity to “Clean It Like You Mean It!”® by participating in this year’s Trash Bash community cleanup event. The 29th Annual Trash Bash will be held at multiple locations throughout the Greater Houston and Galveston area on Saturday, March 25th. Galveston Bay Foundation’s Trash Bash site will be located at Armand Bayou – Bay Area Park. Visit the GBF Registration Link and sign-up to join us or visit the Trash Bash website (trashbash.org) to sign-up for one of the many other locations Trash Bash will be held this year!
Visit the Trash Bash website for full details and locations!