Marine litter in my environment?

How could that be? I live 65 miles from the Pacific Coast.

An assignment for a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) sponsored Marine Litter MOOC asks that I share a report about marine litter in my environment. It’s fortunate that I live in a community that is not located along an ocean coastline. The photos in this post were taken along Glencoe Swale, a sub watershed of the Tualatin River which flows into the Willamette River geographically located in the northwest corner of Oregon, U.S.A.

These photographs illustrate an important fact- plastic debris that originates inland can potentially enter our oceans. Once left to drift in a watershed system, plastics can travel for many miles down small streams, to rivers, to bays, and finally, to the ocean.

Some plastics enter the watershed system innocently…

As did the frisbee tucked in the lower left hand corner of this photo-


It entered the Glencoe Swale watershed system after flowing down the street from a suburban home, into a street drain like this one.



This disc glided through a storm water culvert that empties into a wetland area…


Had it not been snatched from the exit point of the culvert and removed from its journey…


It would have continued its course into the flow of the swale, just a few yards away. It’s safe to say, this frisbee is no longer on a potential course to becoming Marine Litter.


other plastics enter the watershed system, not so innocently…

Ignorance, laziness, defiance, ambivalence… are not acceptable excuses for scenes like these. A single plastic bottle tossed into a waterway is no longer ok. Photos like this represent an attitude that must change… one plastic container at a time.


Sadly, I was not able to retrieve either of these containers. One was afloat in a fenced-off area.  The other, too far down an embankment to be reached.


Best case scenario: Somewhere along this watershed’s flowing course to the Pacific… the bottles will be in a position to be recovered. Otherwise, two more plastic bottles could be on their way to becoming more Marine Litter.

Moral of the story:
  • When plastic litter is seen floating in a watershed system, or in a position to enter a watershed system… Pick it up and place in recycling.
  • Dispose of plastics properly.
  • Try to use plastics wisely: avoid one-use plastics, recycle, reuse, refuse when possible.

Interested in the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Marine Litter?

Please click this link:

Click map to see Marine Litter In My Environment- entries made by people from all over the world who are participating in the UNEP sponsored course:


2 thoughts on “Marine litter in my environment?

Add yours

  1. Every time I walk the beach I take along a trash bag to pick up other people’s waste. It was something I learned as a child — leave a place better (cleaner) than you found it. When Jello and I walk at our local Salmon Creek, I’ll do the same. Maybe I’ll suggest to the Pew Research Center they poll the younger generations to find out what it is that makes littering OK in their thick skulls!

  2. Were you a Girl Scout by any chance?! I grew up with that very same ethic, and am proud to say it was passed on to my kids, too <3
    Maybe there should be an app that promotes good stewardship skills… I suspect the polls would reveal some kiddos are oblivious because of increased media engagement. Looking around at nature, sadly, in my opinion, is not a given in today's electronic culture…

Please, do tell... what caught your attention?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: