On Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22, volunteers took to the Rockland shoreline, along the Rockland Harbor Trail, Buttermilk Lane in Thomaston, and the commercial stretch of Route One in Thomaston to pick up trash. The totals were staggering. In less than a mile stretch along the Harbor Trail, over 1,500 cigarette butts were collected, the worst offender. Over 2,000 cigarette butts were collected along less than a quarter mile on the commercial section of Route One in Thomaston. While seemingly innocuous, each cigarette butt contains plastic within the filter, which is tossed away when someone is done smoking. On Buttermilk Lane alone, six truckloads of trash were collected. Over 1,500 bits of foam, glass and plastic were collected, each smaller than 2.5 cm.
The harm in all this trash is, for the most part, it does not go away. Plastic is ingested by our marine life, and it has been estimated that the total weight of plastic in our oceans will surpass the weight of all marine life by 2025. Annually over eight million metric tons of plastic make their way into our oceans.
The need to address plastic debris is ongoing and this is an opportune moment to ask that we all do everything we can to eliminate or reduce the use of plastic. Take your own bags to town, shop where plastic is not used, do not use single-use plastic, avoid plastic straws, and be mindful of unnecessary packaging when shopping.
We are thankful to all our volunteers and partners who contributed to the Earth Day clean up. Let’s make it Earth Day every day!