Thursday, January 26, 2012

01/26/2012 - Eslava Creek

America the Beautiful

Kayaking in Mobile's Dog River.

A moderate rain of about an inch in two hours causes Mobile's storm water system to send Mobile's uncontrolled litter into Eslava Creek which ends up here in Dog River.

ADEM: Alabama Department of Environmental Mismanagement. There will be consequences for allowing your water to become polluted with PLASTIC.

The floating litter causes Dog River resident Elvira to get out with a net to start the ritual after every rain of removing the public's nasty garbage.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

01/21/2012 - Halls Mill Creek

This animal suffered a horrible death in a crab trap.

City of Mobile's Schwarz Park - Dumpster removed, trash still on the ground.

Dead duck with shotgun pellet penetrations in it.

How about that - illegal hunting in Halls Mill Creek.

Plastic Ducks may be the only type of ducks you see in the future.

Plastic, plastic, and styrofoam. Currently this is an acceptable form of toxic petroleum in the water.

Poor catfish left to suffer on a limb hook. In its struggle the catfish yanked for so long it ripped its own eye out.

Quick way to get rid of your trash. Dump it in the woods next to the water.

Friday, January 20, 2012

"Can't do anything, Sorry."

Litter Complaint Update: Senator Jeff Session's office called me on Jan 18th. One of his Aides said, "There is nothing Senator Sessions can do about your complaint because it concerns landfills, and that is an ADEM issue."

Another major player with influence who CAN do something says he can't. Our government is crippled by obligations to corporate contributors to their campaigns.

There is no reason why roadsides should be littered with plastic bottles. So why are they? Bottlers of water want you to feel your water is polluted so you will drink more of their "refreshing" outrageously expensive mostly unregulated tap water put in dangerous plastic bottles that could be disrupting the hormonal balance of those who drink from those bottles. What is that plastic bottle made out of? Could it be making you obese?

Could sucking out millions of gallons of water out of water aquifers in one area of the country and transporting it above ground to distant places be affecting moisture content around the world?  Got more rain than usual?  Suffering droughts? Hmm... There will be consequences for not drinking your own local filtered tap water.

Moore Creek Shoreline

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

01/10/2012 - Eslava Creek

Hi again. Just more documentation of the current state of Mobile's urban waterways.

Here is the scenario.

The City and County have oversight of Mobile's storm water drainage system. They oversee storm water engineering to help keep Mobile from flooding despite the fact that impervious structures continue to be built, wetlands continued to be filled in, and forests continue to be clearcut which means less open ground to absorb the rain. More water now flowing in straight channels means fast water velocity. Trash from a variety of sources ends up in roadside ditches. Heavy rains come and wash the lighter objects (plastic bottles, styrofoam, etc.) downstream. Dozens of miles of these City and County maintained ditches finally drain into about a dozen urban waterways. Moore Creek, Eslava Creek, Halls Mill Creek, One Mile Creek, Chickasaw Creek, Three Mile Creek just to name a few. The velocity of the storm water runoff slows down once it reaches the major waterways where there is tidal influence. There the trash pools forming floating Trashbergs on the surface of the waterways. Trashbergs in the water get moved around by tidal influences. Some trash gets picked up but much of it eventually ends up going into Mobile Bay and then into the Gulf of Mexico. Surface trash gets wind blown and may end up on barrier islands or coastal beaches. Some trash sinks. Some of the trash gets deposited onto adjacent wetlands during high water from rains which is what you see in these photos. When there is no home owner, such as a vacant lot or undeveloped land along the waterway, the trash continues to collect with no one removing it.

Then once or twice a year, many people get gung-ho and have a coastal cleanup. The beaches get a good cleaning of course because beaches are a desirable destination. Relatively few of the wetlands, where the majority of trash accumulates, ever get cleaned. Some of the trash in these wetlands are deposited well inland.

Land Owners of wetlands can't readily access their land so they may not know that public litter (from a variety of sources) goes through the County and City storm water conduit system, unabated. The County and City (THEY) have no measures in place to trap the trash from their storm water system.  THEY have no one regularly working the waterways and adjacent wetlands to remove the trash after rain events. There you have it. THEY have no plan in place to keep their waterways clean.

The City and County and State mow roadsides. There are expensive sweepers that sweep streets and shoulders. Prisoners pick up trash from roadsides. Animal control picks up dead animals (which would quickly decompose on their own). Public works removes public trash and household garbage weekly. But THEY do not remove trash from the waterways and adjacent properties deposited there from rain events and most of that plastic will take a century before it becomes micro-plastic (it doesn't decompose).

Here is where the problem begins. Most of the trash in the wetlands is now on Private Property and continues to accumulate after every heavy rain. It isn't the City or County's job to pick up trash from private property. There are after all, codes and regulations that govern litter on private and commercial properties. Who owns the waterway where some trash still floats around? That opens up a can of worms.

No one wants to assume responsibility for a waterway because of the costs of monitoring and keeping it clean. Removing trash from wetlands is not an easy task either. Environmental Management apparently has no rules restricting the amount of public litter that a City or County can generate through THEIR storm water systems. So the public litter continues and YOUR water (all water is connected) continues to be a public dump.

Getting down to the nitty gritty, it is up to City, County, State and Federal agencies (they all have claim to roadways), to remove the litter from the roadside ditches and keep them clear and free of litter. THEY however, have enacted municipal code making property owners responsible for the roadside trash, further placing the burden on the public rather than take responsibility for areas of roadway that THEY maintain and mow.

Well, then it is up the the City, County, State and Federal agencies to install trash collection devices readily available on the market and proven to work, to trap the trash before it gets downstream and properly dispose of it. That requires money, man hours, and infrastructure and THEY have no funds to keep waterways free of litter. THEY can't even deal with the litter on the roadsides.

But we have laws in place governing litter - it is against the law to litter. Ahem, where is Law Enforcement when you need them? Running red lights with the rest of the public, but they are chasing the same criminals they put behind bars a dozen times already. (Another subject altogether - I can only say I empathize with Law Enforcement because the justice system is broken.)

How about making litterers accountable? Find who is doing the dirty deeds and put them to work removing trash from roadsides, waterways, and wetlands. If they had to get knee deep in muck removing trash, they might think twice before throwing trash out the car window next time. Oh, holding litterers accountable would require law enforcement and they are too busy with violent repeat offenders. Darn. What is the solution?

Since this problem with litter is a nation wide problem, it needs to be resolved at the federal or state level. For starters, if each of these empty plastic bottles was worth a quarter, there would be way less of them on the roadsides and the majority of trash in these photos is plastic bottles. In essence, we need a nationwide Plastic Bottle Bill also known as a container deposit law. Add a 25 cent deposit fee to plastic and aluminum containers. When trash becomes valuable enough to pick it up, there will people who will pick it up. Have you written your congressman lately?

Oops, I forgot, Coke, Nestle, and other bottling companies pay big bucks to political campaigns of Republicans and Democrats so there likely will be no bottle deposit bill while they are in office. What's the solution to this plastic trash problem? Maybe voting out the Republicans and Democrats and voting in the Green Party? I don't know...

Maybe I have it all wrong. Got any ideas on how to solve this?


Eslava Creek

Eslava Creek woes.

Eslava Creek - Looking under someone's dock.

Eslava Creek - Deer Meat?

Eslava Creek - High pressure spray can destined to release it's remaining contents into the water.

Eslava Creek - The trash goes hundreds of feet into the wetland.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

01/8/2012 - One Mile and Three Mile Creeks

Isn't water quality a concern any more? Obviously not. Look at these photos below, taken today. I'm outraged which is why I'm using this public blog to document the problem. Some people think my blog is over the edge - too political, too negative, too provocative. If this blog is edgy, it is because of the insane scenery of these waterways.

I made complaints about the trash in the water and the adjacent wetlands a month ago to Mobile311, Mobile City Council members, Keep Mobile Beautiful, Mobile's Mayor, Mobile Parks Department, Mobile City Police department, Mobile City Public Works, Mobile City Urban Development, Envision Coastal Alabama, Chamber of Commerce, Mobile County Environmental Enforcement, Mobile County Health Department, Mobile County Public Works, County Commissioners, Sheriffs Department, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Alabama Department of Public Health, State Troopers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Mobile District Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Fish and Wildlife, US Geological Survey, Barack Obama, TV5, TV10, TV15, Press Register, Bama Environmental News, Senator Brooks, Senator Figures, Representative Davis, Senator Sessions, Senator Shelby, Congressman Jo Bonner, Governor Bentley, Alabama PALS, Coastal Foundation, Alabama Rivers Alliance, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Dog River Clearwater Revival, Mobile Baykeeper, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, Mobile Bay Sierra Club, Southern Environmental Law Center, and others.

How have these agencies treated my complaint? Fish and Wildlife think they can get grant money. Congressman Bonner wants my social security number in order to process my complaint. Huh?  Mobile311 hasn't responded to web complaints and the email address they provided me replied back saying they no longer respond to complaints sent to that address. No one else has responded. Basically, no one gives a rat's ass about local water quality - if they did local waterways would not be a trash dump.

Here is what Mobile's urban creeks and creek banks look like today.

Enjoy your Alabama Seafood.

Got BPA?  Got Hormonal Disruptors?  You know, there is a reason why the population suddenly became obese. Study up on Plastic Bottles, which will never biodegrade...

Three Mile Creek 

Three Mile Creek 

Three Mile Creek 

Three Mile Creek 

One Mile Creek

One Mile Creek

One Mile Creek

One Mile Creek

Maple Street Canal

Maple Street Canal

Maple Street Canal

Maple Street Canal

One Mile Creek

Saturday, January 07, 2012

01/7/2012 - Dog River (Post # 500)

Beautiful waters of Dog River. Say Thank You to the litterers of the once beautiful Azalea City.

Dog River Park
Welcome to the Beautiful waterways of Mobile!  Ack!