Trash Bags and Wildlife

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Blown trash in osprey nest. Photo: Kelly Dean

Trash Bags and Wildlife

By Kelly Dean

With sweat rolling down into my eyes, I straighten up – only to feel a burning sensation in my back as lift a garbage bag into the back of my vehicle. I’m too old for this, I thought.

But it seems fitting in a way. Our generation seems to be just as guilty of taking advantage of our outdoors as any other; I haven’t always been the wise old sage I am today. So the fact that my back has given out picking up roadside trash on Earth Day seems like appropriate restitution for any past carelessness – I hope.

The fact is, trash — especially plastic bags — have a real-world impact on wildlife, as the featured photograph shows. In the picture, one side of a neighborhood osprey nest has a garbage bag that has blown into it. The other side has a grocery store bag as well. If the bags ever do blow free, best case, they end up in the water. This gives the bags three lives, two of which are quite unfortunate.

And this is why my back hurts.

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