Trash trap 'is working' on a Litter-Free Jack's Creek

Environmental, Events, Litter-Free Rivers, Sound Rivers, Stormwater, Stormwater Runoff, Tar-Pamlico Watershed, Water Quality

Posted on February 1st, 2024

Volunteers Christina Marshen (in the water), Maria Flanagan (on near bank) and Sara Hanifin (on far bank) cleaning out the trash trap and banks of Jack's Creek in Washington.

A crew of volunteers took a go at the Washington trash trap today, relieving the passive litter-collection device of the trash collected from Jack’s Creek.

Armed with waterproof boots, the team of trash-trappers waded into the chilly creek, collecting the usual trash — plastic bottles, especially — and some unusual trash: a car tire and caution tape.

“There was a lot of caution tape in the creek and in the trash,” Emily said. “We were surprised by that. I don’t where it came from, but it ended up in the water.”

Emily said the volunteers, many of whom have been cleaning out the trap since it was first installed, told her the trash trap is making a difference.

“They were talking about how, over time, they’re seeing less and less trash in the trap. So, it’s working. There’s less trash in the water and along the banks, and our clean-outs are getting faster,” Emily said.

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman (brown shirt, center) and Volunteer Coordinator Emily Fritz (gray sweatshirt) joined the self-named “Trashy Friends” for the Jack’s Creek trash trap clean-out on Thursday.

The Jack’s Creek trash trap is the first one installed along small waterways in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico watersheds as part of Sound Rivers’ Litter-Free Rivers program. Since its installation in May of 2022, trash traps have been set up on Duffyfield Canal in New Bern, Little Rock Creek in Raleigh and Adkin Branch in Kinston. Sound Rivers is currently working on a Greenville trash trap with city officials, and a second location in Raleigh is being scouted (read about it here).

The purpose of the traps is to capture, then remove, trash from urban waterways, before it can flow downstream to the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico rivers.

An added bonus is the people the trap this trap is bringing together.

“I loved hearing our volunteers say how each time they do a clean-up, it makes them happy because they’re doing something good for the water, but it also gives them a chance to catch up with one another and see what’s going on in each other’s lives. It’s really lovely to see the community that’s being built within our trash trap clean-outs,” Emily said.

Sound Rivers’ next Jack’s Creek trash trap clean-out will be held Tuesday, Feb. 20. Email Emily at with any questions or to sign up to help out!

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