Monday, May 1, 2017

FOLAR Cleanup 2017

Well in all honesty, I underestimated how fun the cleanup would be. If you were to look at the state of my room, you would immediately know that I am not the kind of person that enjoys picking up after myself, much less other people. But as it turns out picking up trash with other people is rather enjoyable. Maybe it was the people, I'm not entirely sure, it could just be that the river had much more interesting trash than my room, but overall I did find the experience rather enjoyable, something I would willingly give up my free time to do.

The cleanup lasted around two hours and with the blistering heat, the dust rising everywhere making you cough, and the stench, you'd think that it would seem like an eternity. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. I made plenty of friends at the river cleanup and with people joking, racing with shopping carts that they had dug up, and competing in contests of strength and speed, time seems to fly. The river itself was surprisingly dirty, with plastic bags melded to the trees, clothes and shopping carts buried under the sand, and chip bags flying everywhere. I found fence pickets, window shutters, tires, tire flaps, and so much more. It made me realize how little we think of trash and how it all serves to damage the environment. Permanently. Those plastic bags aren't coming out of the trees, and there are likely many more shopping carts buried under the sand. Once trash gets into the environment, it really does not want to come out.

I myself have resolved to watch my waste with more caution, and though I am no environmental preservation crackpot, I have never found it more necessary in my life to make sure that we take care of our planet as best we can. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of the beautiful Earth bestowed upon us. By no means will we be environmentally perfect, by no means will we be able to negate the harms that we have done unto our land, but that is no excuse to not try.

Folar Cleanup

Going into the FOLAR cleanup, my expectations were completely different from what it was actually like. Through our various pre-cleanup discussions and my knowledge from having done a couple of beach cleanups before, I was expecting the stereotypical vibe. However, it was much different than one might believe. Rather than the river being an actual river, there was hardly any water. There was, however, a ton of sand and rocks that made navigating through the area extemely difficult. But the biggest shock to me was that rather than there being lots of trash along the river ready to be picked up, you could barely see any trash at a glance because it was all buried and hidden. I honestly found this to be a bit discouraging, and it was difficult for me to collect a lot of trash simce a lot of it required lots of strength to pull it out of the ground, which I do not have. Nevertheless, the trash I was capable of collecting also shocked me; I was expecting the commonly known soda cans and chip bags, but instead I came across things like electronic accessories, computer parts, and lot and lots of clothes. The overall atmosphere was pleasing, and there was a lot more people and groups than I expected. I genuinely enjoyed the feeling of contributing to the community's cleanliness with others from the community, and I hope to participate again next year.