On July 28th, 2018 thirty volunteers joined the Easter Lake Watershed Project for a cleanup event and removed a total of 1429 pounds of trash from Yeader Creek in just 2 hours.
United by Blue, a Philadelphia based retailer, teamed up in with local retailer Active Endeavors of West Des Moines for their first ever joint waterway cleanup. These two outdoor retailers collaborated with Polk County Conservation, City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, and Polk Soil & Water Conservation District to host the cleanup in Yeader Creek in Ewing Park.
The cleanup was one of 20 that United by Blue co-hosted nationwide this summer, from June-August, to establish community partnerships between their specialty retailers, conservation or municipal partners, and volunteers..
During the cleanup volunteers removed a bike, kiddie pool, and nearly 40 tires in addition to many single use plastics including bottles and plastic bags. If not cleaned up, all of this trash would have ended up in Easter Lake.
During the clean up, each bag, tire, and trash item was weighed. Below are the results from other cleanup events that were part of the Blue Movement Road Trip hosted by United by Blue. As you can see, in Yeader Creek the second highest weight of trash was removed, second only to Jackson, MS where they removed a boat from the creek.
In Yeader Creek and across the nation as part of United by Blue’s “Blue Movement Road Trip” the most commonly found trash items were single use plastics such as plastic bottles for water and soda, plastic bags, and plastic to go containers and beverage containers.
Single use plastics negatively affect water quality and wildlife in our local waterways including Easter Lake every day. Each time you see trash on the street, that trash travels down a storm drain and is dumped into a river or other water body. Whenever an item is thrown away, there’s a chance it will not reach the landfill and instead will reach our waterways.
As the plastic & trash pollution problems of our ocean have gained media attention, we must remember ocean pollution begins in our own local watersheds. The actions we take to protect our inland waterways positively affect each water body downstream including our oceans. For example, when you act to protect Yeader Creek and Easter Lake, you also protect downstream waters including the Des Moines River, Lake Red Rock, Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico.
We have the capability to keep pollutants including trash and nutrients like phosphorus out of Easter Lake positively affecting local water quality and each water body downstream. However, we all must do our part.
Ways you can help
Know where your trash goes and recycling guidelines
- Find trash and collection guidelines in the Des Metro area
- What can you recycle? Learn here.
- Participate in an upcoming SCRUB trash removal event
Reduce your plastic waste
- Use this calculator to estimate your plastic consumption
- 6 easy ways to reduce your plastic footprint
- Tips to use less plastic
- What you can do to end plastic pollution
- Volunteer with the Easter Lake Watershed Project
- Keep trash out of our streets – Adopt a Street
- Volunteer and stay up to date with local environmental & sustainability groups:
- Learn how your plastic trash reaches the ocean
- Learn about pollution problems in the Mississippi Watershed
- Learn about the global plastic pollution problem
- National Geographic published an entire issue on global plastic pollution in June 2018. Read the issue here.
- National Geographic: We made plastic. We depend on it. Now we’re drowning in it. Read the article.
- Journey of Plastic around the globe
- 10 shocking facts about plastic
- Fast facts about plastic pollution
- Learn about what is being done around the world to address plastic pollution
clean water starts with you