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Adkin Branch trap good for litter-free rivers

Environmental, Litter-Free Rivers, Neuse River Watershed, Sound Rivers, Volunteer, Volunteers

Posted on July 20th, 2023

A trash-collection device is slated to be installed on a creek in the heart of Kinston.

Staff from the environmental nonprofit Sound Rivers and a crew of volunteers will install a trash trap on Adkin Branch, to capture trash from the creek and prevent it from flowing downstream to the Neuse River.

Project partners Sound Rivers, the City of Kinston, Mother Earth Brewing and the Lincoln City Rising project are hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 4 at 11 a.m. on the banks of Adkin Branch at the Holloway Community Center. The Adkin Branch trash trap is the fourth such installation of Sound Rivers’ Litter-Free Rivers program.

“We know there’s a ton of plastic pollution in the environment — we see it all the time, in terms of trash in the river, macroplastics like plastic bottles and bags,” said Sound Rivers’ Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop. “Over time, macroplastics break down into microscopic pieces, called microplastics, and settle into the water and the soil. These traps are helping us learn about what kinds of litter makes its way into our rivers, and allows us to intercept all kinds of litter before it breaks down into smaller pieces and ends up in the bodies of aquatic life.”

Measuring less than five millimeters long, microplastics are not picked up by water filtration systems and are often eaten by fish, birds and other aquatic animals, negatively impacting the health of wildlife and, in turn, humans.

“If fish ingest microplastics, and we eat the fish, that means we’re at risk, too,” Sam said. “The traps are a way to clean up some trash and contribute to ongoing research about microplastics. It’s also an opportunity to bring the community together and people into connection with this important urban waterway — one that people in the community have historically loved and used for fishing and recreation, and is in need of care.”

With the help of City of Kinston staff, Sound Rivers scouted the best location to install the trash trap on Adkin Branch. The device is built to withstand the rigors of flash rain events, allowing water to flow through the trap unimpeded, at the same time capturing larger pieces of trash floating downstream. Sound Rivers currently has trash traps located on Jack’s Creek in Washington, Duffyfield Canal in New Bern, on Little Rock Creek on the grounds of the Walnut Creek Wetland Center in Raleigh, and is working with the City of Greenville to install one on a tributary of the Tar River.

Sound Rivers is seeking volunteers to help with the Adkin Branch trash trap: volunteers who can regularly check to see if it’s in need of a clean-out and those willing to wade into the water to pull trash from the traps. Those interested in volunteering can email Sound Rivers’ Volunteer Coordinator Emily Fritz at emily@soundrivers.org.

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