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Letter: Bike ride sidetracked by plastic bottles

To the editor:

It started out as a sunny afternoon and a good time to ride along the trail by Lake Rebecca Park and the river in Hastings. As I rode, I started seeing piles of plastic bottles and a few other items piled up along the river by the trail, obviously picked along the shore from the receding flood waters by some good samaritans. The trash (mostly plastic bottles) flowed into the shallows from upstream due to high water and were left high and dry as the water receded. Many thanks to someone or group.

A few days before that as the river was in flood, while biking along the trail in Spring Lake Park, I stopped at several backwaters where I could see the backwater of Spring Lake from the bridges and landings and slow current spots along the river. Spring Lake, just upstream of Hastings, is an accumulation pot for this material. Many recycle bins of bottles were visible.

I started to think about all the plastic that flows downstream and the length of the Mississippi, and the rivers that feed into it. I tried to visualize that mountainous volume but soon realized that I can't visualize or calculate that high. Not good enough at math. However, by my very rough estimate it has to be many many tons daily. This all comes from our Mississippi River. No wonder there are trash heaps afloat out in the oceans.

I think we as a society are oblivious as to the negative impact all this volume has on our inland and ocean environment. Either that or we are so sensitized to seeing this material that we accept it as normal.

The slobs don't care but the rest of us should. Being a positive thinking person, I know there are a lot more people who care then there are slobs. Keep up the good work of cleaning up. To those who clean up other people's trash, I know it is humbling, blessed are those who are humble, Thank you.

Phil Vieth

Hastings