Trash talk

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Last year, the nonprofit Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful cleaned 30,000 pounds of trash out of the Truckee River. So far this year, they’ve removed another 24,000 pounds. And it’s more than just an aesthetic problem. Trash in the river can trap animals, and plastic trash can accumulate in the stomachs of fish, causing them to starve over time.

Back in April, high waters washed away the “trash island” that had been accumulating in the Truckee east of Rock Park in Sparks. It happened just about a week before a crew of volunteers led by Sparks resident Chastity Townsend and assisted by Battle Born Pool & Spa was planning to clean the mess up—a citizens’ response to the slow response of the City of Sparks government.

This isn’t a new problem either. Some may remember when low water levels in 2014 revealed layers of trash on the bottom of the river.

Organizations like Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, and the roughly 4,000 people who volunteer with them annually, do a great service to our community with the river clean ups they organize and the other beautification projects they undertake. But wouldn’t it be nice if this community service were less needed? It could be, if we all do our part.

You may not be the kind who drops your trash wherever. Neither am I—but there are still ways we can contribute to a cleaner environment, things like chasing down those fast food napkins that flutter out of ours cars on windy days or not trying to cram trash in overflowing public trash cans. Maybe next year at this time, KTMB will report having cleaned up fewer thousands of pounds of trash.