Jack’s Creek Trash Trout gets first clean-out

The Trash Trout on Jack’s Creek in Washington before it was emptied last Thursday.

The Trash Trout installed on Jack’s Creek in Washington got its first clean-out and auditing last Thursday. Led by Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell, volunteers Carl Crozier, Sound Rivers’ board member Betsy Hester, Bill and Sara Hanafin, Mike Sagaser, Christina Marshen and Dawn Dolson, three bags of trash and three glass bottles were retrieved from the litter-trapping device.

Part of a two-year-long microplastics research study being conducted by 14 Riverkeepers across the state, the Trash Trout is the first of three to be installed in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico watersheds. The goal is to get a better understanding of how macroplastics, such as single-use bags and plastic soda bottles, end up in our waterways, as well as how they break down into microplastics, pieces of plastic less than 5mm long that can impact aquatic life (fish eat the microplastics; we eat the fish…)

Sound Rivers board member Betsy Hester keeps track of items pulled from the Trash Trout.

The final tally of trash pulled from the Trash Trout after a two-week period:

  • Plastic Film — 11 plastic bags; seven food wrappers; 129 fragments.
  • Hard Plastics — 40 bottles; 10 lids/caps; three straws; six medicine vials; 12 cigar filters; 501 cigarette butts.
  • Styrofoam — 113 pieces, including cups and take-out containers from Sheetz, Waffle House, Zaxby’s, Speedway and Cookout; two pieces of packing material; four miscellaneous pieces (plates/egg); and 65 Styrofoam fragments.
  • Metal — 19 drink cans and one metal fragment.
  • Glass — 3 beer bottles.

A second Trash Trout will be installed on Jack Smith Creek in New Bern on May 31 (original location was Lawson Creek, but has since been switched).

If you’d like to help out with the Jack Smith Creek installation, email samantha@soundrivers.org.